* I don’t usually delve into national issues, but I received so many press releases yesterday about President Obama’s executive order on immigration that I thought I’d share them with you. But, first, from the Washington Post…
President Obama announced a big executive action on immigration Thursday night. But while it allows nearly half of illegal immigrants in the United States to avoid deportation, the impact varies significantly by state.
According to data from the Migration Policy Institute, 51 percent of illegal immigrants in Texas and 50 percent in California — the two states with the largest illegal immigrant populations — will be temporarily exempted from deportation. But in Maryland and Massachusetts, it’s just 35 percent, and in Virginia it’s 37 percent.
Aside from California and Texas, at least half of illegal immigrants in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon and Utah will be exempted. […]
Obama’s executive action varies by state because it is focused on illegal immigrants who are parents of children who are citizens or legal permanent residents and have been here for at least five years, which is about 3.7 million of the estimated 11.4 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Another 1.5 million will benefit from the program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which Obama first announced in 2012 and allows young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to stay. That program was expanded by about 300,000 after Thursday’s announcement
The exemption rate for Illinois is 50 percent.
Nationwide, 6.2 million won’t be covered by the executive order.
* OK, on to the react. First up, the state’s GOP congressional delegation…
Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16), Peter Roskam (R-IL-6), Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) , John Shimkus (R-IL-15), and Aaron Schock (R-IL-18) today released the following statement reacting to President Obama’s announcement that he will be using an executive order to bypass Congress and grant amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants.
“President Obama’s plan to ignore the Constitution and circumvent Congress is a lawless move that will ultimately do much more harm than good. We believe Congress should take the lead on immigration reform, securing our borders, improving the visa system and addressing the many layers of our broken system. This temporary measure will only spark chaos and create major problems both now and in the future. In fact, President Obama himself has said many times that an executive action of this magnitude would be unlawful. By blatantly bypassing Congress to execute this illegal executive order, the president is neglecting the interest of the American people, diminishing our national security, undermining the rule of law, and setting back efforts to permanently and meaningfully fix what’s broken in the immigration system.”
* Gov. Pat Quinn…
“President Obama today took a necessary first step in fixing our broken immigration system. His plan will give hope to families who live in constant fear of separation.
“Hardworking immigrants from around the world came together to build our country and our state. I commend President Obama for showing compassion and understanding to millions of individuals stuck in a heartbreaking situation.
“Congress must follow President Obama’s lead and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
* Mayor Emanuel…
“We applaud President Obama for taking executive action and bringing much needed relief from deportation to families throughout Chicago and across the country. We support this move because it is consistent with our values as a city that has always welcomed and benefited from the contributions of immigrants. It is good for our families, good for our economy, and it will help drive us toward a brighter future for every Chicagoan.
While we support the President’s action, only Congress can finish the job. We will continue to join with the overwhelming majority of the American people in pushing for bipartisan action by Congress on comprehensive immigration reform.”
* Also from the mayor…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will join Congressman Luis Gutierrez tomorrow, Sat. November 22 at 9:30am at Benito Juarez High School Auditorium, 1450-1510 W Cermak Road for the IL is Ready Chicago Rally for Administrative Relief.
The Mayor will stand with immigration leaders from community based organizations, legal services providers, faith institutions, college and universities, labor, government agencies, and business to discuss how the City of Chicago will prepare and attendees will learn more about administrative relief, access resources to share with community members, learn how to prevent immigration services fraud, and to prepare for administrative relief.
* Jesus “Chuy” Garcia…
“Chicago is a city of immigrants and today we honored their contributions. I am excited that many members of our community will be granted relief from deportations and our families will no longer live in fear of being separated from their children. Sadly, many of our community leaders who have fought the hardest for this win may not qualify. Elected officials who have advocated for deportation quotas and believe that immigration is the “third rail” of politics prevented a comprehensive immigration reform. Those who impeded our progress on this essential issue of human rights and economic growth need to be held responsible for the fact that even after the President’s effort, we are left with a broken immigration system. I will continue to press leaders in Congress to fix our broken immigration system so that all 11 million undocumented immigrants are able to come out of the shadows and are put on a pathway to citizenship.”
* Illinois Business Immigration Coalition…
The Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC) released the following statement today. IBIC is co-chaired by Exelon Chairman Emeritus John Rowe, Crate and Barrel Co-Founder Carole Segal, former Corn Products International CEO Sam Scott, former Illinois Chamber of Commerce CEO Doug Whitley, Resurrection Project CEO Raul Raymundo, American Council of Engineering Companies of IL Executive Director Dave Bender and National Partnership for New Americans Executive Director Joshua Hoyt.
“The Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC) represents a growing and diverse set of businesses and business associations across the state. IBIC provides a voice for Illinois businesses in support of common sense immigration reform that supports Illinois’ economic recovery, provides Illinois companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and promotes the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and citizens.”
“Although we believe that legislative action is the best way to develop common sense, and permanent solutions to our large and complex immigration problems, executive action by the President is a welcomed relief to millions of families living in fear, businesses disrupted due to unnecessary deportations, and a national security compromised because we currently do not know who is in our country and for what purpose.
“IBIC remains committed to encouraging Congress to take up and pass immigration legislation that secures the border and enacts a tough screening process so we know who is in the country and for what purpose, creates a functioning visa system allowing safe, orderly, and legal immigration for the needed agricultural, high skilled and low skilled workers, and a legal status or path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here.
“It is bad for the economy to have millions of people working in the shadows. It is bad for national security when we do not know who is in the country and for what purpose. It is bad for the country when families are kept apart. The President’s Executive Order may help to bring millions of workers out of the shadow, legally entering them into the workforce, and strengthen our national security, but absent legislation, our country’s immigration system remains broken.”
* US Sen. Durbin…
Following an announcement by President Obama that he would use his legal authority to make improvements to the country’s broken immigration system, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) stood with Senate Democratic leadership today supporting the President’s decision. Durbin said that the decision is necessary due to the failure of House Republicans to pass a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill, a bill that has languished in the House of Representatives for 511 days since the Senate passed it in June of 2013. Earlier this week, Durbin and Senate Democratic leadership sent a letter to President Obama supporting executive authority to improve the immigration system.
“Broadview, Illinois is a suburb outside of Chicago, and every Friday morning a bus pulls in and is filled with those who are about to be put on airplanes at O’Hare and sent out of this country. I’ve been there. I’ve been there with many people who stand in vigil as they’re being sent away. It’s a heartbreaking situation. These are not felons, these are members of families. These are not criminals, these are children,” Durbin said.
“This president is going to use his executive authority to try and solve a problem the House Republicans refused to even address. It’s the right move for America. It’s a first step and we still have our responsibility to do something in Congress. But until we do, the President is doing the right thing for America.”
* Democratic Congressman Bill Foster…
“We have ignored our broken immigration system for too long, and I am pleased that the President is taking action to improve our immigration system and provide temporary relief for some families. These actions which are long overdue, will prevent millions of families from being torn apart, provide visas for highly-skilled workers, and give many immigrants relief from the fear of deportation.
“Every day that leaders in Congress block comprehensive immigration reform, it costs taxpayers $37 million in lost revenue. The President’s decision to issue work permits, so that immigrants with strong ties to America, who pass criminal background checks, can work legally and pay their taxes is a common sense solution that will benefit our economy.
“To those who say this should not be done with executive action, the answer is simple: bring comprehensive immigration reform up for a vote in the House. Like similar actions taken by his predecessors, including Presidents Reagan and Bush, President Obama’s actions will provide temporary relief, but what we really need is comprehensive immigration reform. It’s been nearly a year and a half since the Senate passed bipartisan immigration reform. Despite an outpouring of support from the business community, religious leaders, law enforcement, and people from all walks of life, House leadership refuses to allow a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.
“Any day, Speaker Boehner could wake up, listen to the teachings of his church, the business community, or the millions of Americans calling for action, and bring comprehensive immigration reform up for a vote – it would pass with strong bipartisan support, and become the law of the land. But we cannot continue to sit on the sidelines and wait for that day while families are being torn apart.”
President Obama is not the first to take executive action on immigration reform. Every President since the Eisenhower administration has taken executive action for immigrants. President Reagan provided relief to immigrants who had been denied asylum and President Bush expanded the Family Fairness program to provide legal status for more than 1.5 million undocumented spouses and children.
* Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley…
“I applaud President Obama for using his legal authority to improve our broken immigration system and prevent the unnecessary deportation of millions of members of our community. The president’s executive actions will prioritize our resources to remove those who pose a public safety threat instead of continuing our current ineffective, arbitrary and inhumane deportation policy, needlessly separating families in contradiction to our country’s founding principles of fairness and justice. Every president since President Eisenhower has lawfully used executive authority to address immigration issues. President Obama’s actions are consistent with his predecessors in both parties, who have routinely used their prosecutorial discretion to grant administrative relief to large categories of immigrants. This includes President Reagan’s support for individuals fleeing political repression in Poland and President George H.W. Bush’s expansion of the Family Fairness program that deferred the deportation of over one million people. While the president’s actions are a crucial step in the right direction, it is important to remember that executive action is not enough, offering only a temporary remedy for a limited number of the undocumented immigrant community. Only Congress can provide the permanent solution necessary to fix our broken immigration system, and I will continue to fight for the bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform supported by an overwhelming majority of the American people.”
* Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights…
A broad group of state-wide stakeholders will meet to discuss the implementation and implications of President Obama’s executive action on immigration. After the meeting, the group will be available to comment on the White House action, which will provide millions of immigrants the opportunity to remain in the U.S. with their families and to continue to contribute to our nation’s economy and society.
WHO: U.S. Senator Richard Durbin and leaders from faith, business, labor, and community coalitions including the Archdiocese of Chicago, American Jewish Committee, Latino Policy Forum, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC), National Immigrant Justice Center, Prayer Network, Undocumented Illinois, Organized Communities Against Deportations, United Auto Workers
WHEN: Friday, November 21st at 2:45 pm
WHERE: Casa Michoacan, 1638 South Blue Island, Chicago, Illinois
* I didn’t receive anything from Sen. Mark Kirk, but he did speak with The Hill…
Kirk was quick to criticize both President Obama and his own party in the wide-ranging interview. He knocked President Obama’s recent immigration moves, saying it was “incredibly condescending to hook all the rights and privileges of millions of would-be Americans to an executive order which could be changed at any time by any president,” but blamed the stalling of immigration reform on House Republicans.
* I also didn’t receive anything from Democratic US Reps. Cheri Bustos or Tammy Duckworth (although Duckworth just had a baby), or from any members of the African-American delegation (although I don’t think I’m on their lists). Bruce Rauner avoided questions about the president’s action yesterday.
* I can’t stress this enough, but TAKE A DEEP BREATH before commenting, please. Don’t go crazy on me - and I’m talking to BOTH sides here.
…Adding… I’m told I was inadvertently left off Duckworth’s list…
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) released the following statement on President Obama’s new Executive Actions on Immigration.
“During my time in office I have consistently heard from individuals and groups throughout the political spectrum that believe we need comprehensive immigration reform that is practical, fair and humane and that will grow our economy. I was encouraged by the passage of bipartisan immigration reform last year in the Senate and am disappointed that the majority in the House of Representatives did not bring similar bipartisan legislation for a vote.”
“Given the inaction of Congress, I support the President moving forward with executive actions that will improve security at the border while prioritizing deporting felons, not families. It is now time for Congress to work together to enact comprehensive immigration reform that will improve our immigration system for the long term.”