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Letter No. 88: Immigration reform now!

Felicia Persaud | 8/14/2014, 11:14 a.m.
I’m sure you are all caught up on Twitter, but just in case you missed it, on Aug. 7, House ...
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

I’m sure you are all caught up on Twitter, but just in case you missed it, on Aug. 7, House Speaker John Boehner tweeted a picture of himself with a farmer with the caption: “Always great to spend time with America’s hard-working farmers and ranchers.”

Interesting, eh? Considering, of course, these same farmers are increasingly dependent on immigrants, especially undocumented migrants, to do farm work and keep them afloat. Moreover, it is really these immigrants who do most of the backbreaking work to keep these farms and ranches running daily.

Yet Boehner and company have failed to pass any immigration reform measure that could help lighten the load of these constituents, who, under the Agriculture Retailers Association, have made it clear that they support “a comprehensive immigration reform policy that provides for a usable guest worker program, a reliable verification system, secured borders and the opportunity for current farm workers with the support of an employer sponsor to apply for legal status.”

So how hypocritical can Boehner be, posing in a field while ignoring the many immigrants aching in the field? The reality is there are no solutions coming out of the GOP camp, and they should be punished for this come November.

Now, Mr. President, it’s time to ensure that unlike Boehner, you offer up some real solutions—instead of more promises—and talk that will energize the base to vote. Here are some immediate moves that can be done administratively to help the millions of hardworking undocumented migrants in the U.S. as outlined by The Hill newspaper.

“Issue a prioritization memo on deportations. President Obama could direct prosecutors to focus deportation efforts on individuals convicted of serious crimes—not those with minor criminal convictions.

“Expand DACA. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, announced in 2012, affords temporary legal status and work permits to children brought to the country illegally. The administration is reviewing whether to extend it to those children’s parents or to illegal immigrants with children born in the U.S.

“Roll back Secure Communities. Activists have asked the president to limit the program, which allows local governments to share the fingerprints of individuals who are arrested with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Those flagged as illegal immigrants can be deported, even if they are not convicted of a crime.

“Reinterpret existing law. The administration could more charitably define waivers and visa requirements to allow individuals — especially those with family ties to the U.S.—greater opportunity to enter the country, even if they had previously violated immigration law.”

There are two weeks to go before Aug. 30. Will this be D-Day or will it be just another day when you do nothing? There’s been so much talk on your part of this issue for the past six years. Will you continue to stand back and do nothing or finally deliver for the many who still believe in the dream?

Frankly, I’m not holding my breath, but you really may surprise us still. I’m hoping for a “September Surprise” from you.

Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud

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