This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending Nov. 21

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Week Ending November 21

This week in immigration reform: President Obama announces executive action on immigration; NCLR participates in a unity press conference supporting the president’s executive action; NCLR and partners deliver over 260,000 petitions to the White House; NCLR provides administrative relief resources; and NCLR and Democratic allies continues making the case for executive action.

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NCLR kept the community informed in a number of news pieces this week, with staff quoted in The Hill, The Dallas Morning News, San Jose Mercury News, Modern Healthcare, and CNN, and featured on MSNBC, Telemundo, and, again, on MSNBC.

President Obama takes executive action to provide relief to five million undocumented immigrants: The president made a long-awaited announcement on Thursday outlining his plan for administrative relief for undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States at least five years. In his address, he pledged to offer deportation relief for a period of three years for those immigrants who met certain criteria. His plan includes expanding DACA, allowing parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents to petition for deferred action, permitting provisional waivers of unlawful presence for some relatives of U.S. citizens and legal residents, improving immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow the economy, and promoting naturalization. Additionally, he will provide more resources at the southern border and will replace Secure Communities with the “Priority Enforcement Program.”

NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía reacted to the announcement saying, “This action is a victory for the president, a victory for millions of American families and workers, a victory for our country, and a victory for common sense. The president has exercised the leadership we needed him to, acting in the country’s best interest and opening a path for Republicans in Congress to legislate on the issue. Executive action will improve our security by getting people living in the shadows to come forward and go through criminal background checks. It will bolster our economy so those who are working will do so legally in a way that increases tax contributions for the nation and prevents bad employers from pitting them against U.S.-citizen workers. And it will bring greater stability to millions of families—which include U.S. citizens and legal residents—as well as the communities in which they live.”

ImmReformUpdate_11_21_2014_pic1NCLR Affiliate TODEC Watch Party for President Obama’s Announcement

NCLR and other civil rights groups voice support for executive action: This week NCLR joined with 15 other civil rights groups to support President Obama’s action on immigration, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Human Rights Campaign, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Mi Familia Vota, the NAACP, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), the National Urban League and Voto Latino.

Janet Murguía speaks alongside civil rights leaders and immigration reform activists during a press conference discussing immigration reform at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, November 20, 2014. 

NCLR and immigrant advocate deliver petitions to the White House: Additionally, this week NCLR delivered more than 260,000 petitions to the White House in partnership with numerous immigrant advocacy groups. The petitions urge President Obama to take executive action and to do what he can to fix our broken immigration system in the presence of House Republican obstructionism. A blog by America’s Voice covered the event, citing Laura Vazquez, Senior Immigration Legislative Analyst at NCLR, as saying “President Obama must seize this moment to fulfill his promise to bring some sanity to our immigration system. He has the power, precedent, and priority for action. Republican inaction on immigration reform reaffirms the need for the president to step in and address the ongoing crisis that our community faces.”

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NCLR updates resources following the announcement of executive action: NCLR will continue posting resources on our website as information becomes available. Additionally, www.adminrelief.org is a resource center available to those attempting to navigate administrative relief and petitioning for deferred action.

NCLR CONTINUES TO MAKE THE CASE FOR EXECUTIVE ACTION: Even though the president has made his announcement, it is still vital that advocacy groups continue making the argument for executive action. In pursuit of this goal, NCLR published a fact sheet this week outlining the economic cost of inaction by House Republicans on comprehensive immigration reform. It also provides a timeline from the passage of the bipartisan Senate bill through Congress’ recess in August, highlighting the squandering of a true opportunity to pass immigration reform by House Republicans.

Democratic Members of Congress echoed the findings of NCLR’s publication, with multiple Members making statements this week in support of executive action and emphasizing it is needed as a direct result of House Republican inaction. The below statements were made on the House Floor earlier this week:

Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) offered “Republicans have done nothing. They have refused to act. If the Republicans are unwilling to use their power to act, then the president must act. In fact, recently 117 of my colleagues and I sent a letter to President Obama urging him to act now. Since 1952, every single president, regardless of political party, has used their broad executive authority to shape our nation’s immigration policy. So the president’s decision to use executive action is not unprecedented. Neither is it ideal, but unfortunately it is necessary. We can no longer stand by while we separate mothers from their children, throw young people out of this country. The only strategy that republicans in this house have had has been deport, deport, deport.”

Representative Joe Garcia (D-Fla.) said “This Republican Congress has done nothing to address immigration reform and has only been an obstacle to this process. Now is the time for the president to act. His legal standing is solid. It is time for us to act. Now is the time to do what is right, what is fair, what is just, not only for the immigrant community but for this great country.”

Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) noted “The United States Senate passed in a bipartisan way a comprehensive immigration bill dealing with a very important problem in this country. It is supported by labor unions and it is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Again, a bipartisan vote in the United States Senate. Are we doing that here today? No. We can’t even bring that to the floor to have a debate because this leadership in this House runs such a closed process.”

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