Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is reacting to President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. In a speech Thursday, the President outlined a plan that could protect some 5 million people in the country illegally from deportation.
Senator Jack Reed says it would be better for Congress to act. However, he notes the House has had more than year to take action on an immigration bill that passed the in Senate, but has failed to do so. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse defends the president’s right to use executive action. He says people in Rhode Island and across the country are suffering under the current system. Congressman Jim Langevin says he is hearing from constituents they want comprehensive immigration reform. He urges House Republicans to let the immigration bill come to a vote. Congressman David Cicilline says he will continue to push house leaders to seek a permanent solution on immigration.
Anna Cano Morales, director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, said it will take months to figure out what the president’s executive order actually means for the process. “From here a clear idea will certainly emerge in how these executive orders will translate into real activities in Rhode Island. I think it’s going to take some time. I don't think flipping the switch and having comprehensive immigration reform,” said Morales.
Congressional Republican leader have already said they oppose the actions. The President embarks on a tour Friday to drum up support for the action nationwide.
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