Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Limited but Welcome by Border Communities

Border Network for Human Rights Very Concerned about Millions Left Out, Continue Border Militarization

El Paso, TX /Southern New Mexico

Today’s announcement of President Obama to use his executive power to expand DACA to cover more young undocumented students (DREAMERS) and to protect from deportation close to 5 million immigrants living and working in the US is historic, and represents a temporary victory for American communities fighting for sensible and human immigration reform.

Obama’s Executive Order, in essence, will grant deferred action and provide relief from deportation to those undocumented parents with US citizens and permanent resident children that have been in the US for more than 5 years. All of them will receive work permits while Obama’s action is in effect, for at least 2 years.
While we are pleased many families will be included, it is very concerning that more than half of the 12 million undocumented immigrants, more than 7 million of them, will not be protected by the President’s action, not even the parents of DACA recipients (DREAMERS). What will happen to all of them? Will they be targeted with more aggressive and punitive enforcement? Will they be super-criminalized? If the President’s action fails to cover the vast majority of those immigrant families in the US, it might fail as a remedy as well.

Also, it is unfortunate that the President traded off the well-being of border communities by continuing the militarization of the southern border. In the last 10 years, border security resources and personnel has doubled, including 22,000 border patrol agents, 700 miles of fencing, and 8 drone systems. All of these without effective and transparent oversight and accountability mechanisms, which has led to agents’ misconduct, civil and human rights violations and killing of immigrants and border residents. Such border strategy has impacted the lives, the rights and the well-being of our communities and crossing immigrants.

Finally, this temporary and short-term remedy granted by the President does not eliminate or substitute the need for congress to pass immigration reform and develop a long term solution that fully integrates undocumented Americans to our society and give them a pathway towards citizenship and rights.

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