Dear Commons Community,
Last week, President Obama’s issued an executive order designed to keep immigrant families together. However, this action is not enough to protect millions of immigrant families. Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill. But more than 500 days later, the House still is refusing to act. The president used his legal authority to protect millions of families from being torn apart. While it’s a great first step, we still need Congress to act on a permanent solution to our broken immigration system. Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, mailed a Thanksgiving plea to support President Obama and to urge Congress to act. Below is her message.
When I think of Thanksgiving, my first thought isn’t turkey, or cranberries or pie—it’s family. I am the granddaughter of immigrants—America is a nation of immigrants—which is why President Obama’s executive action on immigration is so important to me today. More than anything else, this action is designed to keep families together. Sadly, this action alone is not enough to protect millions of immigrant families.
Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill. But more than 500 days later, the House still is refusing to act. Last week, the president used his legal authority to protect millions of families from being torn apart. While it’s a great first step, we still need Congress to act on a permanent solution to our broken immigration system.
The president’s action—which showed leadership and courage—will directly help millions of immigrant families stay together. And it will make it easier for educators, healthcare workers, public employees and support staff to lift up the communities we serve.
Last week, millions of kids went to school under a cloud of fear, not knowing if their parents would be there when they returned home. Thanks to this action, those kids will no longer live in fear.
Increased stability in the classroom and at home will help immigrant kids succeed, reduce distractions for the whole classroom, and ease the burden on educators and support staff.
Thanks to the end of the Secure Communities Act, millions of immigrants can report crimes without the fear that they’ll become targets for deportation. This will make our streets safer for everyone, including first responders and other public employees.
Hundreds of thousands of DREAMers will now have a path to college and military service—meaning everyone from high school teachers to guidance counselors to college admissions officers will have clearer guidelines for helping these students achieve their potential.
And thanks to the new legal status, millions will be able to come out of the shadow economy not just through stopping wage suppression, but also by beginning to contribute in a new way. Immigrants will be paying taxes just like you and I, and estimates say this action could add as much as $210 billion to our GDP over the next decade.
Thanksgiving is a time for family. It is also a time for remembering our own immigrant history, and the kindness that Native Americans showed to early European immigrants at Portsmouth. This Thanksgiving, millions of modern immigrant families can begin to shed the fear of being torn apart. But we still need a permanent solution—for them and the 7 million immigrants not covered by this action.