November 20, 2014
Today, President Obama has fulfilled one of the most passionate promises of his administration by taking an important step forward to fix our broken immigration system. The President has acted to protect and empower the millions of families across the nation –hundreds of thousands in New York City – who have been working for and contributing to our communities for years. As a result of the president’s action, these families and individuals will no longer have to fear the trauma of deportation, and instead will be on a path toward security and stability.
New York City firmly stands behind the President and is ready to do all that is in our power to help ensure the successful implementation of his plan. From creating a task force with dozens of city agencies to provide information and access to services to all immigrants who will gain temporary legal status, to convening a summit with Mayors of many cities who bravely and responsibly stand against anti-immigrant policies, to laying out a plan to execute the reforms at the municipal level, New York City is poised to act.
We learned important lessons when the President announced executive action on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Our City was the largest funder of DACA and we stepped up to make sure that program was a resounding success. Whether it’s assisting recently-arrived immigrant children, creating a municipal identification program for all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, investing in naturalization programs, or dramatically limiting cooperation with federal immigration authority detainers on deportation requests, New York City is proud of its leadership role on the frontlines of immigration reform.
Today’s announcement is also an unquestionable reminder that improving policies to further make immigrants part of the makeup of our society can be a powerful tool for fighting inequality, because it levels the playing field for more people, and expands opportunity for all.
The President’s plan, while invigorating, is not a complete or permanent solution to all our country’s immigration issues. Now the Congress must continue what the President started – make lasting changes to widen criteria for more undocumented immigrants to qualify for legal status and act according to our society’s highest values. The United States of America has always been a country of immigrants. It is what makes us who we are and it is our legacy for future generations.