Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement after President Obama announced this evening his executive action that will stop the deportation of over 5 million immigrants living in the United States:
“I applaud President Obama for doing the right thing to protect millions of people and countless families while allowing them to work and become an even stronger part of our communities.
“The American government should do everything within its power to keep families together. I have met with constituents in my district who come from many countries across several continents. They have pleaded with me to fix our broken immigration system, but while these people suffer and families are separated from one another, Republicans in Congress have done nothing.
“President Obama is not the first president to take this kind of action. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush took similar action when they extended legal status to family members who were not covered by changes to immigration law. Members of Congress from both parties welcomed these actions because it was the right thing to do for families, and they should welcome it again now.
“Today’s executive action is a first step. Congress still needs to do its job and pass comprehensive immigration reform. Well over a year has passed since Democratic and Republican Senators passed legislation that will protect our borders and provide undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship. Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner and Congressional Republicans dragged their feet and have refused to allow the House of Representatives to take up this popular and necessary piece of legislation.
“I hope that the President’s actions will spur House Republicans to bring up legislation to reform our nation’s immigration system. In lieu of threatening to shut down the government or impeach President Obama–which will only continue to divide Congress and the American people–Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have the opportunity to bring Democrats and Republicans together to reform our desperately broken immigration system. Families across the country are depending on it.”
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass represents the 37th Congressional District, which includes Los Angeles, Century City, and Culver City and was the 67th Speaker of the California Assembly. Rep. Bass serves as the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.