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American Immigration Council Executive Director, Ben Johnson Comments on Executive Action

Released on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

Washington D.C. - Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council offers the following quotes on the policies released yesterday by the Obama Administration:

What this all means: "After decades of congressional neglect, President Obama took a crucial and courageous step toward reforming our immigration system. He announced that he will provide immediate relief for many of those impacted by of our broken system, and he is offering Congress an architecture for the permanent reforms that our country desperately needs."

Legality of the Action: "Both the Courts and current immigration law empower the Department of Homeland Security to make choices about immigration enforcement. Since at least 1956, every U.S. President has granted temporary immigration relief to one or more groups in need of assistance. Like his predecessors, President Obama is not providing a permanent legal status to anyone – only Congress can do that."

Economic Benefits of this Executive Action: "The majority of economic literature has long-pointed to the fact that when workers work legally, they earn more and spend more, thereby growing the economy and expanding the labor market. Their tax contributions also increase and positively impact both state and federal coffers.  Bringing millions of workers who are already living and working here out of the shadows and into the full, open economy will be good for American workers and for local economies around the nation."

Ending Secure Communities: “The decision to end Secure Communities and to stand up a new Priority Enforcement Program has set in motion the possibility for some very significant changes that have been long overdue.  The decision to focus their law enforcement efforts on those who pose a demonstrable risk to national security and those who have been convicted of specifically enumerated crimes is an important step forward in focus our attention on real threats to communities.  The challenge for agency will be to ensure that these policies are embraced and adhered to by agents in the field by backing  them up with training and support, but also oversight and accountability.”

Deferred Action for Parent Accountability: "The Obama Administration is building on the successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by providing temporary relief for the parents of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents. The new program, to be called Deferred Action for Parent Arrivals (DAPA), will ensure that millions of U.S. Citizen and lawful permanent resident children will remain unified with their parents."

On Congressional Action: "Rather than look for ways to block reform, Congress should do its job to fix our broken immigration system and provide individuals, families and communities across America a functional immigration system that meets the our needs and reflects our proud history as a nation of immigrants."

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For press inquiries, contact Wendy Feliz at wfeliz@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524 or 202-812-2499.

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