Illegal Immigration Activists to Pressure Obama to Expand 'Deferred Action' Program

Immigration reform activists are getting ready to pressure President Barack Obama to use an executive action to give temporary amnesty to all of the country's illegal immigrants if Congress does not pass a comprehensive immigration bill after the August recess. 

These same activists intend to pressure Obama--who has said he was willing to use "whatever executive authority I have" if Congress does not act on a variety of issues-- to grant the temporary amnesty leading up to the 2014 midterm elections just like they successfully persuaded Obama to enact a "deferred action" program via executive directive in the lead-up to the 2012 elections. 

According to the National Journal, the idea behind the "other track" is to pressure Obama to use an executive action to give temporary amnesty to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, "give them work permits, and hope for a better deal under the next president." 

The publication reported these activists have been quietly discussing these plans "for months" and intend to pressure Obama to extend the "deferred action" program to "parents of children who are citizens because they were born here, people who are employed, people who are caregivers, and so on." The current deferred action program allows certain illegal immigrants who came to the country before their 16th birthday, are under 30 years of age, and who also meet various requirements to receive temporary work permits.

Groups like the Georgia Latino Alliance, the National Day Labor Organizing Coalition, CAMBIO (which focuses on "civil- and human-rights issues involved in immigration reform"), and Mi Familia Vota (a Latino advocacy group) are getting ready to turn up the pressure on Obama during the August recess.

“We are not waiting [until the end of 2013] to request, or to ask, or to demand President Barack Obama to give us an administrative relief,” said Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, according to the International Business Times. “I think we have kind of seen enough from the Congress, that inaction, the lack of participation and therefore, while they are in recess... [we] will be doing several events around the country in regards to that.”

Nicholls, frustrated that the House may not pass a comprehensive immigration bill, said extending the deferred action program, which originally had been "plan B," should have been "plan A" instead of pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. 

Other activists are already planning for the "next steps" if immigration reform stalls after lawmakers come back to Washington after the August recess. 

"We're saying, 'What if? What are the next steps? If we come to a crossroads, what are the next strategies, the next talking points?'" Lizette Escobedo, communications and development director for Mi Familia Vota, told National Journal. "Our groups on the ground are seeing this as a new challenge. And when you get a new challenge, you just need to turn up the heat."


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