President Obama got it right by stopping the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. His leadership and resolve came through as he tackled this tough and controversial issue through an executive order after our dysfunctional Congress failed to act.
He was right on the money when he stated that these immigrants have lived here for years, been part of our workforce, often in tough, low-paying jobs, supporting their families and worshiping in our churches. Their children either have been born in America or spent the majority of their lives here.
The president made it clear that if they register, pass a criminal background check and are willing to pay their fair share of taxes, they’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. That was the right thing to do, although perhaps not the popular thing to do.
History has proven that an action such as this one differentiates a good leader from a great leader.
Everyone knows the immigration system is broken. They know, too, that congressional leaders have been more concerned with keeping their current system of power than in doing what is in the best interest of America — passing comprehensive immigration reform. A simple vote was not even allowed.
While I was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, an Arizona-style immigration bill surfaced and moved from committee to committee until a floor vote became imminent. Words cannot explain the internal pain and anguish I felt when I was approached by Republican House leadership and was asked to support this bill.
You see, my whole family and I are immigrants and to support this bill would be to turn against my own. The bill eventually imploded when the Florida agricultural community became involved. The behavior of my colleagues in the state House during this tough and sensitive fight left a lasting impression on me.
In February of this year, after more than a decade of loyal support, I left the Republican Party. I could no longer be loyal to a philosophy that was not part of my core beliefs.
We are a nation of immigrants, and whereas I do not condone breaking laws to achieve a goal, I am sympathetic to individuals who see how great America is and want to be part of it.
I applaud President Obama and the Democratic Party for tackling this issue with compassion and class.
Ana Rivas Logan, Miami