Latino Leaders: Obama’s Executive Order Doesn’t Solve Immigration Problem

By Penny Starr | November 21, 2014 | 2:10pm EST

Immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally are escorted to a transportation bus after U.S. Border Patrol agents detained about 75 immigrants who'd been living in hut for several days in a brushy area Thursday April 17, 2014 near North 10 St. and Sprague St. in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez)

( - Leaders in the Latino community say President Barack Obama’s executive order granting as many as five million illegal aliens temporary legal status is less about compassion for undocumented Latinos and more about setting a political “trap” for Republicans while not solving the nation’s immigration problem.

Will the GOP use the upcoming Continuing Resolution to defund the president’s amnesty plan? Will they consider impeachment? Will they come up with their own plan knowing Obama will likely veto any bill that puts border security ahead of a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people that are in the country illegally?

“Clearly his action and the fact that he chose to do it now, he’s throwing a hand grenade into the mix, and he’s setting a trap for the Republicans,” Mario Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, told

“It’s a Machiavellian political move,” Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of American Principles in Action Latino Partnership, told “If he was really interested in helping the undocumented and fixing the immigration system, he’d work with Congress.”

Both Lopez and Aguilar said the timing of Obama’s order on the heels of a devastating loss for Democrats in the mid-term election makes it obviously a political move meant to appease his base and help Democrats in 2016 and beyond.

They also said the broken immigration system should be a non-partisan issue and fixing it is the best response for Republicans.

“[Republicans] should pass a bill that reflects a conservative immigration plan,” Aguilar said. “First, border security. Then the root of the problem – the demand for foreign workers – and finally, a way to provide legal status to millions without a special pathway to citizenship.”

Giving foreign workers a legal way to come to this country to work and return home and then back to the United States to work again would lower the immigrant population by allowing “family reunification” in the immigrant’s home country, Aguilar said.

Lopez called the current U.S. immigration system “a bureaucratic nightmare” that makes it “almost impossible” to come to the U.S legally.  He said immigration law should make it easier for hard-working families to come here legally.

“It should tap into folks who want to come here legally to build a better life for their family; build a better life for their children and who can contribute and make this the productive nation it’s always been,” Lopez said.

Aguilar said most, if not the majority, of Latinos, don’t support the president’s order.

“They see it for what it is,” Aguilar said. “A half-baked idea and not a solution.”

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