President’s Immigration Executive Actions Welcomed — Ball in Congress’s Court to Act

Washington DC — President Obama’s much anticipated executive actions on immigration reform are being welcomed by the National LGBTQ Task Force — as a victory for common sense and common decency, and against Congressional inaction.

“Millions of people will sleep a bit more easily tonight because the president is taking action to help fix our broken immigration system. And there are many who do not get relief such as: undocumented immigrants who don’t have any close US citizen/resident relatives or whose family relationships with US citizens/residents are not recognized — this includes thousands of LGBTQ families — and people who are being abused or vulnerable to abuse in immigration detention centers,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force and immigration reform activist.

Highlights of the president’s actions include:

  • Up to five million people will have temporary relief from deportation.
  • For example, parents of US Citizens and green card holders — including LGBTQ parents — will be allowed to apply for temporary relief from deportation and temporary work authorization.
  • Some immediate relatives — including LGBTQ relatives — of US Citizens and green card holders will get a faster pathway to a green card and citizenship.
  • DACA will be expanded, and
  • There will be more visas for highly skilled workers.

Notably missing from the package was:

  • Relief for significant numbers of undocumented immigrants who have no close US citizen/resident relatives.
  • Access to affordable health care under the ACA for undocumented immigrants, and
  • Detention reform for undocumented immigrants being held including pregnant women, nursing mothers and trans people.

“Every president from Eisenhower through Reagan to George W Bush have acted within their legal authority and taken executive action on immigration reform. In fact 39 actions since Ike. So executive action to fix immigration is a very bipartisan tradition. And, every president since after World War II has had to deal with Congresses who were not prepared to act on fixing our outdated and broken immigration system,” Carey noted.

The next steps in the journey to comprehensive immigration reform include the “hard work to implement the executive actions with the government agencies concerned. And the even harder work to get the new Congress to take comprehensive immigration reform seriously and to deliver a reform package that provides among other things: permanent relief with a clear pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants including undocumented immigrants who do not have any close relatives who are US citizens/residents or who are often denied legal recognition of their families. Congress must step up, show leadership and fulfill the promise that is America for generations before us and generations to come,” Carey urged.


To learn more about the National LGBTQ Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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