11/17/2014 11:44 am ET Updated Jan 17, 2015

Dear Mr. President: Act Now on Immigration

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In light of the refusal by the Republican House of Representatives to pass the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform bill, I urge you to take executive action to fulfill the critical goals of that comprehensive bill, which passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 68-32 on June 27, 2013.

In doing so, you will be following in the tradition of past presidents of both parties. Eleven presidents have used their executive authority at least 40 times on immigration over the last 60 years. President Ronald Reagan signed into law a major immigration bill legalizing three million immigrants, and then took executive action to stop deportations that would interfere with family reunification. President George Herbert Walker Bush used his executive powers to halt the deportations of up to 1.5 million family members.

For 17 months, you have been very patient with House Republican leaders, encouraging them to either take up and pass the bipartisan Senate bill or work with you to craft a different bill.

Mr. President, I don't remember hearing one Republican in Congress complain when Republican presidents took executive action on immigration. I urge you to ignore the angry voices of the do-nothing crowd in Congress who have repeatedly blocked progress on immigration reform. If they really cared about fixing our broken immigration system, they would not be threatening to shut down the government or file wasteful lawsuits -- they would just do their job and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Reforming our immigration system is one of the best things we could do for our economy. A recent USC study showed that immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship would inject $8 billion into California's economy each year. Nationwide, it would increase our GDP by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, increase wages for workers, and lead to between 750,000 and 900,000 new jobs, according to the Center for American Progress.

I know that you are working on this issue very diligently because you understand that if we do not act, the dire situation of undocumented immigrants will only get worse -- families will continue to be torn apart and, as people continue to live in the shadows, our economy will suffer. So two important priorities are at stake -- a healthy economy and our family values.

The American people, including the people of my state, support bold and compassionate action on immigration reform. I wanted you to know that you will have my strong support if you take executive action to keep our families together and strengthen our economy.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator