President Gets it Right on Immigration, Economy; Leadership Needed in Enforcement Arena

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
George Tzamaras or Jenny Werwa
202-507-7649 / 202-507-7628 /

More Needed on Appropriate Exercise of Enforcement Authority

Washington, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commends President Obama for the commitment to immigration reform he expressed during his Tuesday afternoon address from El Paso, TX. However, more leadership is needed on appropriate use of agency authority in the enforcement arena.

"The President marked a positive turning point for the immigration debate when he clearly stated that our border security goals are being addressed and that immigration reform is an economic imperative. We welcome his commitment to reform and want to see him take real action to make reform happen," said AILA President David Leopold.

In the speech, the President highlighted our nation's economic need for real immigration reform that helps employers hire the workers they need in a legal way and puts an end to exploitation that lowers the wages of workers in general. He also explained that by fixing our broken immigration system, we live up to our values and heritage as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.

"Unfortunately, the President did not address how he can use his own executive authority to help undocumented immigrants whose only "crime" is their lack of legal status. AILA again calls on the President and his administration to recognize and implement discretion in appropriate immigration cases," said Leopold.

Edward Rios, Vice Chair of the AILA Texas Chapter, who attended today's speech said, "President Obama's passion and zeal for immigration reform resonated throughout his immigration speech, but I kept waiting for him to give us a concrete timeline and solid plan for achieving his policy goals."


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 11051068.