National Day Laborer Organizing Network poster

While Republicans are threatening President Obama if he dares to take legal action on immigration through an executive order, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is encouraging him to go bold.  In fact, they’re giving him ideas for action.

“Expansive and robust action that addresses the economic, family, community and national problems we now face is urgently needed… Fixing our broken immigration system will benefit our economy and allow us to use our national security resources more wisely,” write the Progressive Caucus co-chairs Congressmen Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison in their memo. Obama has multiple choices:

  • He could kowtow to the Republicans and do nothing (further infuriating Latinos and progressives).
  • He could extend the two-year-old Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has allowed more than 500,000 Dreamers to stay here temporarily without fear of deportation while Congress diddles. (You’ll remember that the US Senate passed an immigration reform bill in June 2013, but House Republicans have made no movement toward reform.)
  • He could extend DACA to the parents and spouses of Dreamers, adding another 4 million to deferred action.
  • He could change the 2012 qualifications for DACA, adding another 3 million by changing age limits. (Read more details here and below.)

You can read the Progressive Caucus memo to Obama here; this is an excerpt from the introduction:

… Republicans in Congress have made it clear they will not engage in a good faith effort to fix our broken immigration system. The president has the legal authority and moral imperative to provide relief for over 7 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the shadows.

Out current deportation system is inhumane and wastes billions of taxpayer dollars. Choices between addressing the needs of millions of aspiring Americans and attempting to satisfy the demands of an uncompromising and entrenched opposition are inevitable. We should stand for what is right for our nation…

The administration should act swiftly and comprehensively. We should not force deserving individuals and families to wait any longer. (Full PDF here.)

I agree with the progressive caucus. The GOP be pissed off regardless of what action you take, so you might as well go bold, Mr President.

[P.S. For all of those people on the Internets who have their hair on fire regarding executive orders, here is a list showing the history of executive orders by all US Presidents. Also, executive orders are not the same as signing statements; some have been confusing these on social media.]