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Decision Time on Immigration

That's the title of the Op-Ed published by the New York Times Editorial Board yesterday. Now that the midterm elections are over, the New York Times urges President Obama to act on the promises he has made to use his executive powers to fix our broken immigration system. Executive action is no substitute for meaningful congressional reform, but the Times acknowledges that waiting for Congress to act on immigration reform is pointless, saying, "He must not give in to calls to wait. Six fruitless years is time enough for anyone to realize that waiting for Congress to help fix immigration is delusional. Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative John Boehner have warned Mr. Obama that executive action would destroy any chance of future legislation.

But Republicans have had many, many opportunities to move on immigration, and never have. They killed bipartisan reform in 2006 and 2007, and again this year. The party, whose hard-core members tried to stoke national panic at the border this summer, shrieking about migrant children, Ebola and the Islamic State, is not ready to be reasoned with."

The New York Times is correct. Waiting for Republicans to act is delusional and the arguments for executive action are on the President's side. Directing enforcement resources towards detaining individuals who actually pose a security threat to the public is well within Obama's authority and will make our communities safer. Unauthorized immigrants are already part of our communities and have deep ties and connections to this country. Giving them a reprieve from deportation and work permits would only strengthen their economic, familial, and cultural ties to the United States. It would boost the economy and undercut labor exploitation while also freeing up law enforcement resources to focus on actual threats to public safety and national security.

President Obama has not yet announced what actions he will take on immigration. We are hoping he acts boldly and like the Times we encourage him "Do it. Take executive action. Make it big."

"Decision Time on Immigration" by The Editorial Board. The New York Times. November 6, 2014.

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