Dear Mr. President,
If the numbers by the Pew Hispanic Center are to be believed, then the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States has actually remained steady at 11.3 million. Meaning, there are fewer new migrants arriving and staying in the U.S. in an undocumented capacity.
This means that the 11.3 million are not new arrivals but long-term residents, who have been living in the U.S. for a median time of nearly 13 years, up from 7.5 years in 2003.
As the group notes, “Among the nation’s 10.4 million unauthorized adults, a shrinking share have been in the country for less than five years—15 percent in 2012, compared with 38 percent in 2000 [while] a rising share have lived in the U.S. for a decade or more—62 percent in 2012, compared with 35 percent in 2000. About a fifth (21 percent) had been in the U.S. for two decades or more as of 2012.”
This report makes the Republicans’ immigrant bashing and “do nothing” approach simply archaic, and their hard line will undoubtedly alienate them further from immigrant voters, especially Latinos, who are key to their hopes of regaining the White House in 2016.
But your delay could also prove costly to your party if you keep kicking the can down the road. It will simply frustrate your base into not voting at all, since from where many sit, both parties are looking like one and the same.
Immigration relief and reform is not simply a Latino issue. This is an immigrant issue. From African and Caribbean immigrants to Latinos, Asians, Arabs and Europeans, all want immigration relief. So much so that the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium and its affiliates recently gathered nearly 5,000 postcards from immigrants and other members of the community that all asked you to stop the current holdups on immigration reform. The #ActBoldObama campaign collected postcards from Asian-Americans in 26 states through engagement in local churches and supermarkets.
It would be wise to listen to the advice coming from your base, as well as from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which is urging you to move on immigration relief within the confines of your executive power “before the end of the holiday season” and before the end of 2014.
I endorse the Caucus’ call for you to “act boldly and use all legal means available to provide immediate and temporary relief from deportation to qualified immigrant workers and immigrant families.” The time for you to act is long overdue. It’s been overdue since 2009, when you squandered the opportunity to pass immigration reform during the period Democrats controlled both Houses.
Stand by your June 30 commitment and take executive action to address this issue soon after the Nov. 4 election as promised and support the Hispanic Caucus’ call: “Provide immediate and temporary relief from deportation to qualified immigrant workers and immigrant families.”