Crown Heights

Democratic pols praise Obama’s immigration fix

November 24, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke says President Obama’s executive order on immigration “will allow people who are already part of our community to expand their participation in our society.” Photo courtesy of Clarke’s office
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Reaction to President Barack Obama’s unilateral move on Thursday to change the nation’s immigration system is still pouring in from all corners of the political spectrum.

Two of Brooklyn’s Congress members, U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn) and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Canarsie-East Brooklyn), held a press conference on Nov. 21 to celebrate the president’s executive order.

Clarke and Jeffries are the co-chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus Immigration Reform Task Force.

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On Nov. 20, the president announced that he would issue an executive order to allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the country without fear of deportation if they have lived here for at least five years, complete criminal background checks and agree to pay taxes. 

The decision could pave the way for an estimated four million undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows.

“I commend President Obama for his decision to protect millions of American families at a time when Republican leaders in Congress have refused to even discuss the comprehensive immigration reform that our nation desperately needs. Now millions of people will not have to fear that a knock on the door in the middle of the night will result in the forcible separation of their family. This program will allow people who are already a part of our community to expand their participation in our society,” Clarke said.

She pledged to assist immigrants who want to file for documentation. “Congressman Jeffries and I are dedicated to assisting those who are eligible for the program to complete its requirements and to enacting a policy of immigration reform that finally resolves the legal status of millions of Americans and allows the people of the United States to enter the 21st Century,” she said.

Several elected officials attended the Clarke-Jeffries press conference, including state Sen. Kevin Parker; Assemblymembers N. Nick Perry, Walter Mosley and Latrice Walker; Assemblymember-elect Rodneyse Bichotte, Assemblymember-elect Jo Anne Simon and Councilmember Mathieu Eugene.

Another councilmember, Carlos Menchaca, chairman of the Committee on Immigration, also had words of praise for the president. 

Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) said the president’s announcement “is first and foremost a victory for the countless advocacy groups and individuals who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of justice for millions of hard-working, contributing members of our national family.”

Menchaca predicted that Obama’s move “will redefine the lives of millions of people.”

Menchaca also cautioned immigrants’ rights groups against celebrating too early. “But let’s be clear. This is not comprehensive immigration reform. We must continue to advocate for legislation that addresses the realities of the state of our broken immigration system,” he said.

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