Setting the Washington Post Straight on Executive Action

Recently, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote a piece for the paper’s “Fact Checker” blog suggesting President Obama’s claim that his executive action on immigration is comparable to the action President George H.W. Bush took is dubious. Mr. Kessler awarded three “Pinocchios” to the claim. In response, our own Charles Kamasaki, an expert who has been on the front lines of immigration reform for 30 years, demonstrates that the two actions were indeed comparable in scale.

Read Kessler’s blog and then be enlightened with Kamasaki’s response below.

(Use the “Download” option below to print Kamasaki’s letter.)

The Consequences of Delayed Executive Action

Hanging in the balance-01

ImmDayofAction_immigrationsharegraphic_2_14President Obama’s decision to delay taking executive action on immigration this past September affected millions of hardworking people and their families. Like many of us who were disappointed in the House Republican leadership’s failure on immigration, we were expecting President Obama to act, particularly after he said in a Rose Garden ceremony on June 30 that he would fix as much of the immigration system as he could on his own. Millions of families were also waiting to hear what the president would do to provide relief. But for many of those immigrants, the president’s decision to delay taking action on immigration meant the difference between staying with their families in the United States and being deported to their countries of origin, often after having lived in the United States for several years.

One such individual is Javier Flores, whose story was featured in The Washington Post this past weekend. For Flores, a 31-year-old factory worker who most recently resided in Akron, Ohio, the president’s decision to delay action meant deportation.

From The Washington Post:

In June, he had watched on TV as President Obama promised he would stop deporting certain kinds of illegal immigrants by the end of summer. The president and his staff said they would bypass Congress by issuing an executive action to help people with clean criminal records and American-citizen children — people like Javier. “This means you!” an immigration advocate had written to him, and even though Javier had already been ordered deported he believed his miracle had come. He would be able to stay with his children, ages 10, 7, 4 and 9 months. He would be able to keep his job at the window factory, where he managed 30 people and paid $850 in U.S. taxes each month. “A perfect case,” the advocate wrote again, and all Javier had to do was wait for Obama to say the things he had promised to say.

But then July turned into August, and August turned into September, and Obama decided it was more politically prudent to delay his executive action until after November’s midterm elections. So instead of being offered his reprieve, Javier was sent back to the poorest state in Mexico, where the advocate had sent him one final note. “Sorry,” it read. “Terrible timing.”

The April All in For Citizenship Rally drew thousands of supporters from around the country.

Up until his deportation back to La Mixtequita, Mexico, a village with fewer than 1,000 residents, no mail service, no Internet service, and no work, Flores had lived 13 years in Ohio. His family, a wife and four children, are all still in Ohio. His youngest child is unable to comprehend why she has not seen her father for almost a month. Indeed, Flores’s deportation was hard for even his relatives in Mexico to understand. It is baffling how a routine traffic stop could turn into deportation for someone who has lived in and contributed to his community for so many years.

For now, Flores spends his days sometimes harvesting limes in a small orchard, but mostly contemplating his next steps, mulling over an attempt to return to Ohio, desperate for any solution that will reunite him with his family that needs him so sorely. It’s a heartbreaking and unfortunate situation that could have been averted had Congress or the president done the hard work necessary to finally bring some sanity back to our immigration system. There are millions of others who could avoid the same fate when President Obama makes a big and bold announcement after the midterm elections.

NCLR Affiliates Feeling Pain of Government Shutdown

MarysCenter_LogoFor those who doubt the human toll of sequestration and now, the government shutdown, yesterday the Washington Post spelled it out in unmistakable terms.  An article about the impact of the shutdown yesterday featured two outstanding NCLR Affiliates, Mary’s Center and the Latin American Youth Center, whose ability to serve children and families in the nation’s capital is in jeopardy until Congress breaks its stalemate over the federal budget.

From The Washington Post:

The Latin American Youth Center announced this week that it has furloughed more than half of its staff and reduced its programming to essential services. The furloughed staff, which includes senior leaders, will continue to work as volunteers until the shutdown ends and funding resumes.

“I’m so depressed. It’s so sad,” said Lori Kaplan, president of the youth center. “The center means so much to so many people, and this is hard on a lot of people.”

The Columbia Heights nonprofit group, which offers youth development services to 5,000 children each year, will stop some programs that promote job training and education. The group is also in the process of piloting a program that offers mentors available round-the-clock for troubled youth. Kaplan said the mentors will now work part time. Services to homeless and foster-care youth will remain in operation.

Mary’s Center, a federally funded health facility, is struggling to make its October payroll and to continue serving more than 30,000 patients, according to a statement.

The D.C.-based charity was scheduled to receive nearly $600,000 from the District Health Department on Oct. 1. Those funds are on hold until the shutdown ends.

On Wednesday, Maria Gomez, chief executive of Mary’s Center, spoke at a news conference held by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) at the Capitol to highlight the local effects of the federal shutdown. The Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and a host of charities are lobbying on Capitol Hill this week, urging Congress to come to a budget solution.

Join our Action Network and stay updated on what you can do to fight for a more fair and equitable federal budget! Visit www.nclr.org/federalbudget.

Will the Housing Market Be a Casualty of the Government Shutdown?

Photo: Jeffrey Turner

Photo: Jeffrey Turner

What’s one way to sabotage the already struggling housing market recovery that millions of Americans desperately need?  Why, a government shutdown, of course.

As we head into the second week of the government shutdown, little progress has been made beyond pointless offers to fund specific programs with piecemeal bills. Realistically, this strategy amounts to political posturing and saving face for a group of lawmakers that continue to obstruct progress—with it, we are no closer to finding a solution.  Continue reading