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Friday, November 21, 2014

Roosevelt Island Elected Officials, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NY State Senator Jose Serrano & NYC Council Member Ben Kallos Support President Obama's Executive Action On Immigration Enforcement

Image From The White House Gov

The NY Times reports:
President Obama chose confrontation over conciliation on Thursday as he asserted the powers of the Oval Office to reshape the nation’s immigration system and all but dared members of next year’s Republican-controlled Congress to reverse his actions on behalf of millions of immigrants.

In a 15-minute address from the East Room of the White House that sought to appeal to a nation’s compassion, Mr. Obama told Americans that deporting millions is “not who we are” and cited Scripture, saying, “We shall not oppress a stranger for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.”...
President Obama said yesterday:
... For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities –- people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.

But today, our immigration system is broken -- and everybody knows it.

Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart

It’s been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven’t done much about it....
and announced these executive actions:
... First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.

Second, I’ll make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.

Third, we’ll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.

I want to say more about this third issue, because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we’re also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable -– especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.

But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is, millions of immigrants in every state, of every race and nationality still live here illegally. And let’s be honest -– tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you. It’s also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American-born or spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours. As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it: “They are a part of American life.”

Now here’s the thing: We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes -- you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is....
Click here for the full text of President Obama's Immigration remarks last night and here's video of the speech.

Roosevelt Island's elected officials praised President Obama's Immigration executive action. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney issued this statement:
It has been 511 days since the Senate passed a bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. House Republicans haven’t allowed a vote, and haven’t proposed an alternative. Where they have failed, the President has acted just as Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did.

This executive action will help keep families together. It will boost our economy and generate new tax revenue. It will help end the daily fear, distress and heartbreak that is unnecessarily inflicted on millions of undocumented immigrants, over 800,000 of whom live in New York.

Those who complain about this executive action were given ample time to propose and pass an alternative plan to fix our broken immigration system. The American people by wide margins support comprehensive reforms. They are tired of the obstruction and ready for both sides to work together on immigration. Perhaps tonight’s announcement will incentivize House Republicans to become partners in that effort.
and NYC Council Member Ben Kallos added:
America is a nation of immigrants, from the pilgrims to today. We have always welcomed 'your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free' from all over the world to our nation of opportunity. We must continue to give our newest residents an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream. I am glad that this nation, that once provided safe harbor for refugees from Anti-Semitism, like my wife and grandparents, will become a safe haven once again.
The New York Daily News reports that Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano:
... hailed the “bold” move to overhaul a broken immigration system.

“This is historic,” Serrano said. “This is really historic.”
The NY Times reports that House Of Representatives Speaker John Boehner:
... said Friday that President Obama was “damaging the presidency itself” by using his executive authority to prevent the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Boehner said that the House would act to counter the president, but he declined to be specific.

“With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek,” Mr. Boehner told reporters. “And as I told him yesterday, he’s damaging the presidency itself.”

Not known at this time if the President's Executive Order on immigration applies to any Roosevelt Island residents.

UPDATE 11/22 - State Senator Serrano adds:
I have always been a vocal supporter and ally to immigrant communities across New York State and beyond. I applaud President Obama for taking these courageous and necessary actions to put an end to the unjust deportations that plague our Nation and result in too many broken families and shattered communities. Yesterday's major announcement will go down as a great day in American history.


CheshireKitty said...

Here's how I would describe President Obama's initiative: Ground-breaking, historic, realistic, pragmatic, humanitarian, compassionate. I think we can put his speech right up there with the Lazarus poem engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

OldRossie said...

"If you meet the criteria you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you're a criminal, you'll be deported." Scary that a president can be so blatantly contradictory with one sentence. Obama needs to learn the definition of "criminal".