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"Immigrant Communities and their Political Hopes" - Executive Director Blog Post

Today, on National Voter Registration Day, I want to reflect on the recent developments for immigrant communities and their political hopes.  Two weeks ago, the White House made a decision to delay executive action on immigration reform until after the November elections - a decision that was unsurprising, but no less devastating.  This appeasement to anti-immigrant electeds has become the norm, and in the eyes of the immigrant rights community the Obama Administration has become the Presidency of broken promises and failed dreams.

It was only three months ago that President Obama announced his intention to take action on immigration on his own by the end of the summer "without further delay".  Yet further delay is what we've seen, and this political pandering is out of sync with the 2008 and 2012 President Obama who was elected on his campaign of “Yes We Can” and instead has increasingly been accused of a Presidency full of “Yes We Can...Maybe?...Not.”

Immigrant communities are tired of empty speeches and broken promises from the White House.  It is past time that our elected officials understand the human consequences of these broken promises.  Every day reform is delayed, families are separated, hardworking individuals are detained or deported, and millions of immigrants are left in a state of limbo uncertain about their futures and their family’s futures.

Despite this disappointing delay, the New York Immigration Coalition is ready to work harder than ever to protect our communities, starting with a national week of action on September 22nd, to show the White House, Democrats, and Republicans that we will hold them responsible until action is taken.  We will continue this work with intensive voter registration, mobilization and activation efforts designed to demonstrate that immigrants have political power, and that we will exercise it for those who support us and show political courage - and withhold it from those who do not. 

This upcoming fall, President Obama - and all of our elected officials - will have one last chance to live up to the promises they have made, and provide big and broad executive action to halt these inhumane deportations and provide real relief for hardworking immigrants.  The President, above all, must consider how he wants to define his presidential legacy – will he be forever remembered as the “Deporter-in-Chief,” or the President who took the historic step to fix our broken immigration system?  We will not forget that the #TimeIsNow. 

Steven Choi is the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

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