Dear Mr. President,

Dare non-criminal undocumented immigrants and immigrant advocates get their hopes up one more time? reports indicate that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a draft contract proposal to buy the card stock needed to make work permits and Permanent Resident Cards, also known as green cards. The report speculates that this move means that USCIS is gearing up to move on processing more applications as soon as you make your long overdue promised plans for executive actions on immigration reform a reality.

The USCIS proposal reportedly calls for the qualified contractor to provide material for at least 5 million cards a year, with as many as 9 million “during the initial period … to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” The contract also calls for as many 34 million cards over five years.

For his part, USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez told an audience at a Georgetown University Law Center conference Tuesday, Oct. 21 that his agency was ready for whatever immigration changes you may announce. However, while your White House spokesperson has deferred comments on the matter to the USCIS, the spokesman for that agency, Christopher Bentley, was quoted as saying the request for proposal is simply nothing more than a routine contract solicitation. But the increase in the contract numbers is heartening since USCIS now processes only around 3 million immigrants a year.

So where will the other millions come from? Advocates and immigrants alike can only hope that after you twice delayed making any changes, the third time will be the charm, and you will deliver on your promises soon after midterm elections.

It is time, Mr. President, for you and the administration to authorize protection from deportation for immigrants, much as you did for young students with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Your action can make work permits and travel documents available now to millions trapped in the system, especially those with a petition that’s valid but who have been caught up in waiting for a visa.

Just like with the new Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program—where the USCIS will offer certain eligible Haitian beneficiaries of previously approved family-based immigrant visa petitions who are currently in Haiti an opportunity to come to the United States about two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current—undocumented immigrants who are living in the U.S. and have petitions in the system from both relatives and employers deserve a similar chance to work and travel freely. Even those who can get a petition filed within a certain timeframe, much like with the Section 245(i) provision as implemented under former President Bill Clinton, deserve a chance.

Those with sibling sponsorship or those waiting for more than a decade for an employment sponsorship to become a reality deserve your help now. Not only will this help in a humanitarian way, but it will contribute tremendously to the coffers of both the USCIS and the IRS in fees, fines and back taxes. It’s a win-win for all. Let’s make this happen, please, as a holiday boon to your tired immigrant supporters.


Felicia Persaud

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