President Barack Obama made a decision in November to issue a series of executive actions that aim to prevent about 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported, and NASW says this is an important step in immigration reform.
Obama’s action was a response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ failure to bring the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, passed by the Senate, to the floor for a vote, said Melvin Wilson, manager of NASW’s Department of Social Justice and Human Rights. NASW agrees with Obama’s actions, he added.
NASW’s Public Relations Manager Greg Wright said the association is working to be at the front of current issues like immigration.
“From the response we got on social media, it seems social workers think Obama made an excellent move to shield 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported,” Wright said.
“Although we agree with the move to shield nearly 6 million undocumented immigrants from being deported, we remain disappointed that they will continue to be barred from participating in the Affordable Care Act,” Wilson said. “NASW will not cease its advocacy for access to health care for all indigent, uninsured populations. We want to make sure everyone is in asystem of care, especially single mothers with children.”
Wilson posted a statement on NASW’s social work blog urging the Obama administration to “explore avenues that will facilitate access to affordable health coverage to those who benefit from administrative relief, including those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.”
He says in the statement that “NASW and its partners in the fight for social justice and civil rights must continue to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that fixes our broken immigration system once and for all.”
But overall, Wilson says, NASW supports Obama’s decision.
“The executive actions can bring out of the shadows the issues this country has faced concerning immigration, diminish the negative side of it, and bring it to a point where undocumented immigrants have a place in mainstream society,” Wilson said. “Many people now won’t have to run and hide when someone knocks on the door. It gives an opportunity for families to stay together and live their lives more freely in America.”