Newspaper article Roll Call

Immigration Is about People. That's an Opportunity for Republicans

Newspaper article Roll Call

Immigration Is about People. That's an Opportunity for Republicans

Article excerpt

Emotions are running high following President Barack Obama's announcement Thursday of executive action on immigration.

The left is thrilled the president has acted, the right is angry he is acting. The left is frustrated anti-immigrant forces hold the House hostage, the right is frustrated the lack of reform stymies their engagement of Hispanic voters.

At all levels, the story has been about process and politics, not people. But now that the president has acted, that is changing.

Already, proponents of the action are telling the stories of contributing families who can now emerge from the shadows. Even many who are upset about the process recognize that it will have positive outcomes and empathize with the immigrant community - even as they are articulating the need for a permanent legislative solution.

While the political battle in Washington, D.C., likely will reach a fever pitch when Congress returns next week, local press are putting a human face to the story, which will change it drastically.

Front-page pieces have featured communities celebrating the announcement, even as they lament its limited scope. Images show families shedding tears, some of joy, some of sadness.

The tears of joy stem from the stories all of us imagined we'd see after Congress passed broad immigration reform. They were going to be the stories of Congress doing something we were all proud of.

In the coming weeks we will hear more stories: of our friends' nannies, housekeepers, landscapers or neighbors who have come forward to say, "I am legal."

Many undocumented immigrants will have faces and names. And many who are now angry at the process and politics will realize this is about people.

People they actually know.

This will not turn the tide such that overwhelming majorities of Americans will support executive action. …

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