Legislators, activists celebrate Obama’s new immigration policy

Updated
By Quinn Wonderling

President Obama granted hundreds of thousands of families an early Father’s Day surprise on Friday with a historic executive order to halt the deportation of eligible young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

Some conservative pundits are calling it a political ploy to entice Hispanic voters, but those actually affected by the order are undeniably delighted about the real and positive changes it will bring. PoliticsNation’s Rev. Al Sharpton spoke to writer/activist Jose Antonio Vargas, who “came out” as undocumented in a New York Times article last year.

“This is a great, joyous day for many undocumented people in this country, not only for us but for the people who support us, our teachers, our pastors,” Vargas said. “I’ve been referring to it as our kind of Underground Railroad. This is a big day for us!” 

Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart agreed the president’s order is a tremendous step in the right direction, but said people should clearly understand that Obama is not talking citizenship, and this isn’t the DREAM Act

“This is huge. The Pew Hispanic Center said today it could be as high as 1.4 million people that could be benefitting from it,” Diaz-Balart said.

But there’s a long, long way to go. He explained:

“I also want to separate the apples from the oranges on this issue. This is not like the DREAM Act, which some Republicans and Democrats supported and some Democrats opposed in the Senate when it went down in flames in 2010. That proposal would have given these people, these hundreds of thousands of kids who know no other country but the United States of America who were going to be deported to countries they’ve maybe never even been in, and speaking a language they don’t even possibly know, that would give them a path to citizenship. This under no circumstances, and the President was very clear in his speech today, this is no way going to give these people anything but a temporary reprieve from a separation of families that has in the past 3 years included 1.5 million people in this country.

It’s a 2-year pause and possibly, hopefully, for these people an extension of that 2-year pause – but down the road, what’s needed is congressional action for immigration reform if there is to be some road to citizenship.”

Dream Act, Al Sharpton and Barack Obama

Legislators, activists celebrate Obama's new immigration policy

Updated