New Administration Brings Opportunity To Change Course on Immigration Policy
November 12, 2008
Washington, DC – John Podesta, head of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, announced this week that the Obama transition team will conduct a thorough review of government agencies, regulations, and policies in order to identify administrative actions that can be taken immediately to begin to change government practices. The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, on the need to carefully examine the practices of the Department of Homeland Security.
The promise from President-elect Obama’s transition team to strip away agency practices inconsistent with his vision of change comes not a moment too soon. Our current immigration system is fatally flawed, and while legislation will be required to ensure permanent reform, the necessity for change at the administrative level is a natural starting point.
The deportation-only strategies executed by DHS and ICE over the past year have resulted in nothing but heartache for thousands of undocumented workers and their families, and have terrorized legal immigrant communities, and have degraded the due process rights upon which this country was founded. Even House Speaker Pelosi recognizes that the irresponsible execution of raids is an ineffective solution to our broken immigration system. The next Administration will have multiple opportunities to change the course of immigration policy even before any vote in Congress is taken.
With the stroke of a pen, President-elect Obama can dial back the greatest excesses and wasteful spending practices of the last administration, focusing on sensible enforcement measures that genuinely protect all Americans. A welcome change would also be the appointment of a DHS secretary and ICE Assistant Secretary who value the contributions of immigrants and immigration.
Immigrant voters showed their displeasure at the failed immigration policies of the last administration in the voting booth, and those same voters will be watching the new Administration to see whether their trust was warranted. Curtailing the current out-of-control system will not be easy, but it must be done, and the transition team has no time to waste.