Advocates pressing President Obama for an immediate immigration overhaul vowed Friday to continue to push for action, despite signs that the White House may postpone an expected change in deportation policy until after the November election.
“For us, the urgency is now,” said Cristina Jimenez, a co-founder of United We Dream, an organization of young immigrants who have staged some of the most high-profile protests and public confrontations with lawmakers on the issue. “We need the president to act to stop the deportation of our families. … We are going to hold him accountable.”
The president, fed up with congressional gridlock, has said he’ll use his executive power to make changes. But as the White House wrestles with the political and legal dilemmas involved in making significant alterations without congressional approval, Obama signaled this week he may defer his self-imposed end-of-summer deadline.
“Expectations are sky high,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigration advocacy group America’s Voice, adding that if there is yet another delay to immigration reform, “the disappointment and anger is likely to be profound.”
Others warned any delays in announcing the policy might only hurt immigrants and prevent families from staying together. Deportations of immigrants in the U.S. illegally have averaged about 1,000 a day.
“The one concern of course is the number of families that will be separated from now until November,” said Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy and public affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has not taken a position on whether the president should take executive action or work through Congress. “We would like to see families protected as soon as we can, however, we’d like to see them protected in a permanent way.”
SOURCE: KATHLEEN HENNESSEY, LISA MASCARO, CHRISTI PARSONS
The Los Angeles Times