A group of Senate Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), are voicing their support for President Obama’s expected executive actions on immigration.
In a letter to Obama Monday, Reid and Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) argue he has the authority to act, and thay write that they fully support his decision to do so.
“Because House Republicans have not acted, we fully support your decision to use your well-established executive authority to improve as much of the immigration system as you can,” they write.
According to the six lawmakers, Obama has “broad executive authority to shape the enforcement and implementation of immigration laws,” including altering deportation policies, deferring deportations, and changing the legal immigration process.
At the top of their list of actions they hope Obama takes, Reid and his colleagues request that Obama expand the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to shield more illegal immigrants from deportation.
“We hope that your upcoming actions will expand on this program to include individuals with strong ties to the United States and who have not committed serious crimes, including the parents of these DREAMers, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and workers who play a vital role in our economy and heritage,” they write.
The Democratic senators added that they would also like to see him relax certain immigration enforcement processes to make “immigration and border enforcement more effective, humane, and non-discriminatory.”
“Such steps as revising the Department of Homeland Security’s civil immigration enforcement priorities, and prosecutorial discretion guidance and refining Secure Communities to prioritize those who are convicted of serious offenses will help focus on threats to public safety and not individuals with only immigration-related offenses or minor offenses,” they wrote.
The six went on to call for unilateral improvements to the “legal immigration system to keep immigrant families together, protect workers, and allow employers to sponsor more talented immigrants for U.S. citizenship.”
“We strongly support your plan to improve as much of the immigration system as you can within your legal authority, and will stand behind you to support changes to keep families together while continuing to enforce our immigration laws in a way that protects our national security and public safety,” they concluded.