Dear Mr. President,
It has been 25 months to the date since I began writing these open letters to you calling for immigration reform now. When I began this journey, I knew it would not be an easy road, but I never dreamt I’d actually get to letter 100!
Yet, here we are in this saga as I add my small voice to the millions who insist that undocumented migrants within the borders of these United States need some form of legalization now, not for them, but to help the U.S. economy and defense sectors.
But the real question—now that the silly season of hypocrisy and ignorance that goes with elections is over—is will you finally move toward an executive action on immigration reform like you said you would, or will I have to write another 100 letters as you keep kicking the can down the road?
It’s time for action on your part, and programs such as the Department of Homeland Security’s new Haitian Family Reunification Program are undoubtedly positive. Millions of immigrants who are considered undocumented can get a petition in the system from a relative or an employer today. What is needed is to fast track those petitions as these immigrants get in line. This will allow them to have a work permit and a travel document sooner so they can come into the system and we can now know who they are within months.
In this age of Islamic State terrorism and Islamic State copycats, it’s imperative as president that you act in the best interest of the safety of the American people and recognize that having 11 million-plus people within our borders who we have no data on and can hardly track is a major breach of security. If nothing else, this is the impetus you need to act swiftly to shut the mouths of the fearmongers and ignoramuses.
Forget polls like the recent one from “Fox News” that claims that only 34 percent of Americans of approve of your handling of immigration, whereas 60 percent disapprove. Forget the hypocrisy of Karl Rove, who insisted last year he supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants but is now associated with a campaign ad drawing attention paid for by American Crossroads that attacked a Democratic candidate in Iowa for supporting “immigration amnesty.” And forget the uninformed people highlighted by Al Madrigal on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”
It’s shocking to realize that many can be so ignorant of immigration and immigrants. Yet, at the end of the day, it’s all driven by fear of the immigrant population becoming the majority in the U.S.
“If you look around, there’s a lot of Hispanic people,” one woman told Madrigal. “I’m not racist, or anything, but they’re just going to keep populating. We might have two kids. What do they have? Four or five?”
And then there is Sherriff Richard Jones, who offered the dumbest assessment. “They get new computers, they get their car payments, they get their house payments, they get free medical care. It’s welfare at its worse,” he said.
No, those are poor Americans, many of them Caucasians, Mr. Jones. Undocumented immigrants get nothing in the United States, even though many pay their taxes.
Mr. President, there are many advocates worrying right now that you will delay living up to your promise again. Prove them wrong and act now rather than later. Let the spirit of the first Thanksgiving embolden you.
The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.