Washington, D.C. — Just yesterday, President Barack Obama announced that he is directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to make recommendations for taking administrative action to help fix to the country’s broken immigration system. Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report that details the steps the president can take. The report, titled “What the President Can Do on Immigration if Congress Fails to Act,” provides a roadmap for executive action on immigration by analyzing the scope of the problem, the legal authority underpinning administrative reforms, the various administrative mechanisms available to the president, and the groups of individuals who could be protected from deportation through administrative relief.
The report was released during a press call and webinar where Marshall Fitz, the report’s author and Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, explained, “The president has extremely broad discretionary authority to set enforcement priorities, which includes creating a process for low-priority individuals to register, undergo background checks, and request temporary protection from deportation. In the face of gross negligence on the part of House Republicans, the responsibility falls to the president to set those priorities and leverage his discretion in a way that furthers the nation’s interest in safe and stable communities.”
Also released during the call were results of a new poll by Latino Decisions, conducted for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which explores the views of Latino voters around executive action. The results show that Democrats stand to gain from the president using his broad executive authority to grant the immigrant community a measure of relief following years of Republican obstructionism.
“It now appears that the Republicans have fully, finally, and completely blown the chance of a lifetime to turn around their brand image in the minds of Latino voters,” said Gary Segura, principal and co-founder of Latino Decisions, who presented the results of the poll during the press conference. “The data we presented today lays bare that decisive and meaningful action on the part of the president will significantly improve his standing and the standing of his fellow Democrats, while further cementing the image of the GOP as anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, and undeserving of Latino ballots in 2014 and especially 2016.”
“Inaction on immigration reform is a colossal House Republican leadership failure and as the poll demonstrates, will have serious consequences for the future viability of the party if they continue on this misguided path,” said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza. “Today’s poll makes resoundingly clear where Latino voters stand—the president must act if the House does not. In that vein, we welcome the president’s important step forward yesterday to provide long-overdue relief to those who need it.”
“If the president follows through with aggressive executive action, as promised and expected, it will cement the differences between the two political parties for a generation,” said Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice. “Democrats will be viewed as the party that fights for immigrants and will pass immigration reform when they regain control of both chambers of Congress. Republicans will be viewed as the party that blocks immigration reform and is hostile to Latinos. Given the demographic trends, this could spell doom for the GOP as a competitive national force.”
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