Using the occasion to again call for a cooperative federal effort towards immigration reform, President Barack Obama used his first weekly statement for June to acknowledge the second annual Immigrant Heritage Month. The president’s rhetoric comes in the wake of stalled efforts to give current legal status to an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants.
“We are a nation of immigrants,” the president says on the video. “It’s a source of strength and something we can take pride in.”
While the president touts the nation’s immigrant identity where “almost everyone’s ancestors came from somewhere else,” he also acknowledges the failure of the status quo. “We can’t just celebrate this heritage,” he says of multi-cultural ancestry, “we have to defend it by fixing out broken immigration system.”
Last November, the president announced a series of executive actions surrounding immigration reform. Among these, an expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as well as the implementation of a similar program for parents of legal residents and U.S. citizens.
The irony, of course, is that Obama Administration proposals for reform are stalled due to an injunction imposed by a federal court. And although supporters of the proposed reforms continue to claim confidence in their defense of amnesty programs as lawful, The Washington Post reports the White House has effectively abandoned efforts on this front.
According to the story the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suspended plans to hire 3,100 new employees for work in a D.C.-area 11-story building the government leased at a cost of $7.8 million. The previously scheduled new hires were slated to assist in the processing of the expected flood of immigrants affected by the president’s new rules.
Josh Hoyt, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans in Chicago, isn’t letting the court impediments on immigration reform stop him from continuing outreach efforts. Under his leadership, Hoyt’s organization has held more than 700 information sessions on the new programs and has also trained more than 2,000 volunteers to help immigrants navigate the new rules.
“We’re full steam ahead,” Hoyt said.