Many City Pols Back President’s Immigration Overhaul Plan

Many City Pols Back President’s Immigration Overhaul Plan

President Obama last week issued two executive actions on immigration. Photo Courtesy of NYCLU

President Obama last week issued two executive actions on immigration.
Photo Courtesy of NYCLU

President Barack Obama last Friday signed two executive actions that will have the effect of delaying deportations for possibly up to five million illegal immigrants.

The plan will allow undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to temporarily stay in the country and work legally if they have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and pass a background check.

But the plan will not provide relief to parents of undocumented children and will also not give undocumented immigrants any formal or lasting legal status. Many immigrants will get work permits and Social Security numbers as well as the ability to work under their own names, but those same immigrants will also need to reapply after three years.

Obama detailed the plan at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, the same location at which he detailed his immigration overhaul nearly two years ago. The president said that his latest reform actions are “… only a temporary first step.”

Obama’s executive actions have received mostly high-praise from city officials.

U.S Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), who is both the daughter of immigrants and a longtime advocate of comprehensive immigration reform said, “I welcome the president’s broad and bold step to improve the nation’s broken immigration system.”

Meng said that for a long time the country’s immigration laws have failed to work for the American people, and the president agreed that maintaining the status quo can no longer be an option.

In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city supports the president’s actions and will support him completely.

“From creating a task force with dozens of city agencies to provide information and access to services to all immigrants who will gain temporary legal status, to convening a summit with mayors of many cities who bravely and responsibly stand against anti-immigrant policies, to laying out a plan to execute the reforms at the municipal level, New York City is poised to act,” the mayor said.

However, the mayor joined other Big Apple elected officials in stating that the reforms will need more work down the line.

“The president’s plan, while invigorating, is not a complete or permanent solution to all our country’s immigration issues,” de Blasio said. “Now the Congress must continue what the President started—make lasting changes to widen criteria for more undocumented immigrants to qualify for legal status and act according to our society’s highest values.”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer called the president’s plan a step in the right direction.

“President Obama’s plan offering relief to undocumented immigrants is courageous and puts our nation on the right path,” Stringer said. “It will strengthen our economy, protect immigrant communities and re-affirm America’s promise as a beacon of hope for people around the world.”

Moreover, in further support of Obama’s immigration overhaul, de Blasio announced that the city will play host to a first-ever summit on Dec. 8 with “at least 20 mayors from cities across the country to discuss and lay out a step-by-step implementation plan of an executive order on immigration.”

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (Queens and the Bronx) said, “As a gateway to America, New York City has been a leader in welcoming immigrants, and I’m pleased the city is convening this summit to put the president’s policies into practice and continue this proud tradition.”

By Alan Krawitz


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