Following announcements that House Republicans would not move on immigration this year, more than 500 leaders of a national network of young immigrants, known as “United We Dream” protested in Phoenix, Arizona last week in an effort to pressure President Obama to act to stop deportations.
After months of lobbying, rallies and sit-in demonstrations ended with no movement in the House on a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally, the organization of youths who gathered in Phoenix last weekend for an annual congress of the network, United We Dream, said they felt disappointed by both parties in Congress. Their protests and sentiments pointed to Mr. Obama’s pledge early this year to use his phone and pen when Congress did not move on his agenda. They also said they would demand that he take executive action to increase protections for immigrants without papers.
It is clear that the young immigrants’ demands will be uncomfortable for Mr. Obama and the Democrats in a midterm election year when his low approval ratings could allow Republicans to make important gains. However, recent polls show wider sympathy among Americans for young immigrants than those who are older without legal status. Fortunately, “United We Dream” and other organizations of young people have become leaders in setting strategy among immigrant groups.
Hopefully, action will be taken by the Obama Administration since Congress, besides the Democratically-controlled Senate that passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in June of last year, has mostly failed to act before the midterm elections.