Letter No. 75: Immigration reform now!

Immigration Korner

Felicia Persaud | 4/24/2014, 11:04 a.m.
The best thing about the new age of journalism is that it allows for readers to immediately react to stories ...
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

The best thing about the new age of journalism is that it allows for readers to immediately react to stories on the news websites. I love reading these message boards, especially the responses on immigration stories, as it gives a very real insight into the way Americans feel despite the lack of congressional action.

Take, for instance, the reaction of “Big-George 22” to a Washington Post story titled “Diaz-Balart: If we don’t move on immigration, Obama will go it alone.” “The GOP will do nothing because that’s safer with their base, but [it] is going to kill them AGAIN in the long term,” said this reader.

Big-George 22 is absolutely right. The GOP’s inaction, coupled with John Boehner’s fear and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s whining about your renewed call for action on comprehensive immigration reform this week, will tank the party further. In fact, I predict the GOP’s 2016 loss of the White House will be on a much larger scale if they do nothing on immigration reform compared to their loss in 2012.

Of course, they are guaranteed a much bigger loss if the likes of Sens. Rand Paul or Ted Cruz make it to the general election over moderates like, say, Jeb Bush. Not that Bush has thrown his hat into the ring yet, but his immigration empathy is sure to tank him in any primary should he consider it as a long shot.

Which leaves us with the now and what exactly should you, Democrats and the few moderate Republicans do on this issue a year after the Senate passed an immigration reform measure that can undoubtedly work. Should you wait around while Cantor and Boehner and the like criticize you and do nothing but make comments like there “can’t be immigration reform without strong border security and internal enforcement”?

How exactly do they explain the deportation of 2 million people at a cost of some $16.5 billion or the fact that you have spent $18 billion enforcing border security with the help of 21,000 Border Patrol personnel, sophisticated technology and a fence that is several hundred miles long?

What you can do, Mr. President, is show real compassion this Easter season and stop the deportations of non-criminal immigrants now. Immigration and legal experts agree you can, so why aren’t you moving ahead on this when it’s obvious the GOP House members won’t? Use prosecutorial discretion given to the executive branch, as Richard A. Boswell, an immigration law professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, told CNN, because it allows you “inherent power to choose which cases to act on.”

Rep. Charles Rangel said in December 2013: “Mr. President, you do have the power to stop what’s going on!” Rep. Luis Gutierrez agrees.

Why won’t you? Show Republicans who the president of the United States is right now and shut them out of the White House for good—not just in 2016, but beyond. You have the support of most Americans, and you can help preserve the legacy of the Democratic Party for years to come. The power is literally in your hands.


Felicia Persaud

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.