Statement from Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority president:
“The Feminist Majority applauds President Obama for taking much needed executive action to help fix our broken immigration system that has for too long torn hardworking families apart. We also commend the tireless grassroots activists who fought for this victory for themselves, their children, and their families.
“For the past year and a half, House Republicans have blocked a comprehensive immigration reform bill from coming to a vote. Their failure to vote up-or-down on a bipartisan bill passed by the Senate, or to propose a plan of their own, has pushed millions of people into the shadows and has threatened not only our economic security but our nation’s families and communities.
“That’s why President Obama had to take this action now: to keep families together. Our nation’s immigrants have earned this protection, working in our farm fields, our food processing facilities, and our construction sites as well as cleaning our buildings and taking care of our sick and our children.
“It is estimated that the reforms announced by the President will enable up to 5 million immigrants to apply for temporary relief from deportation and for work authorization. Up to 5 million people will now be able to live their lives without constant fear of deportation, without the fear that they will be separated, sometimes forever, from their families and loved ones and forced to return to a country where some no longer have any ties.
“Although the announced executive actions are an important first step, we continue to call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will reach all immigrants and that will ensure that everyone has access to comprehensive health care. The current plan does not enable taxpaying immigrants who qualify for temporary relief to access the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare marketplaces, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”