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Editorials: President Obama, Seize the Moment on immigration reform!

April 14, 2009 - Posted by Katherine Vargas


Photo by Alex Barth


In case you missed it, newspapers from across the country featured sensible and insightful editorials and opinion pieces about last week’s New York Times’ report that the White House continues to send signals that President Barack Obama intends to follow through on his campaign promise to address immigration reform in his first year in office.


We call your attention to an editorial from the Register Guard, a newspaper in Eugene, Oregon examining the challenges that President Obama faces for pursuing his promise to tackle immigration reform this year but that he is nonetheless bound by the urgent and moral imperative to reform our immigration system.


The president understands the resistance he will face. He was in the Senate in 2007 when a major reform bill collapsed, and he watched efforts to revive even its most benign provisions, such as a program to legalize high-achieving high school graduates, fall prey to partisan rancor…


But the president is right to proceed in a thoughtful, methodical manner with a plan that administration officials emphasize would not add new workers to the American work force. Instead, it would recognize the millions of illegal immigrants who are already working in the United States but are living in the shadows — subject to immigration raids, workplace exploitation and mistreatment in detention…


Obama understands that immigration reform can’t be built upon a one-sided strategy that pursues and punishes illegal immigrants, and divides and destroys families. It’s comprehensive, constructive reform that reaffirms this country’s values and achieves real results.

        Tackling immigration, April 10, 2009


Albor Ruiz, a columnist for the New York Daily News, describes how opponents of immigration reform are so out of touch with reality and the American public who, at the end of the day, want real and feasible solutions:


They said that President Obama would not touch the contentious immigration crisis this year with a 10-foot pole.


But they, the rabid anti-immigrant crowd, were wrong - again…


For those who consider anything short of deporting 12 million immigrants unacceptable, the President's commitment to reform that provides a road towards legalization is anathema. But as it has been shown time and time again, that's not the case for the majority of the American people who voted last November for change and sent packing many extremist anti-immigration candidates.


The truth is that the American people - from workers to business owners, from communities of faith to union activists - understand that a fair and compassionate immigration reform law is critical for the nation's economic recovery and even more so for the healing of its soul.


Fortunately, so does the Obama administration.

A President making good on his promise, April 13, 2009


The Arizona Republic offers a few ideas as to how President Obama should frame a much-needed overhaul of our immigration system:


He [President Obama] should start with this idea: Immigration reform is in the best interests of America.


That has to become - and remain - the main focus. It has to be so clearly articulated that the debate cannot be hijacked by those whose opposition crushed earlier efforts. Reform that addresses the multiple challenges of chaos on the border, the current illegal population, future labor needs and worksite enforcement will result in more security for the nation and more stability in its workforce.


It will reaffirm our national respect for law and order while demonstrating this nation's enduring commitment to human rights and human dignity.


The president should seize this moment: The time is right for reform. Some suggest that the anger and fear spawned by the recession make immigration reform too toxic now. But the deadly status quo is the real danger.

Obama should give Arizona the hard sell on immigration, April 12, 2009

Opinion leaders agree; there will always be excuses for why we cannot reform immigration or how we cannot reform it now, but the truth is that the current system does not respond to the realities of our country.  It does not address our economic, labor, or security needs. We need pro-immigrant advocates to make their voices heard and for leadership in Congress to roll up our sleeves, and give America the kind of comprehensive immigration reform that's long overdue.

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