George Graham

A Bold Act of Kindness



He said he would and he will. President Obama is keeping his promise to America’s undocumented immigrants. With a stroke of his pen, he is brightening the lives of some 5 million men, women and children who have been living in constant fear of deportation.

He announced the historic action last night in a speech the TV networks didn’t bother to carry.

The roars of furious Republicans are echoing across America of course.

He is a dictator, they yell. He is “imperious.” (Who taught them that word, I wonder.) His executive order is a “partisan bomb” that may cause “violence” and “anarchy” and might even warrant a “jail penalty,” – at least according to some Republican members of Congress.

Some critics – notably those at Fox News – falsely accused President Obama of granting amnesty to lawbreakers … and on and on and on…

The hullabaloo is sure to continue for at least the next two years.

Expect another lawsuit. Expect impeachment proceedings. Expect the President’s act of kindness to be a big campaign issue in 2016.

You will be hearing a lot more about the pros and cons of this historic action in the weeks and months to come. But, to me, the issue is simply one of Christian charity. Two letters in my Yahoo mail this morning go to the heart of the matter.

One is from the Service Employees International Union, and it’s signed by “Joy  O,” an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines.

Here’s an excerpt:

As a live-in home care worker, I work five days a week caring for a patient who is 90 years old, wheelchair-bound and recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I am her daily companion. I manage her medications, cook her food, bathe her and do the housekeeping, Most of all, I keep her safe. After 3 years of caring for her, I consider her my family. If I were deported, who would care for her?

Thanks to the President’s courage, I can let go of this constant cycle of worry. For myself and millions of immigrants, no more living and working in fear. We can walk a new path out and continue to fight forward for a lasting immigration solution.

The other letter is from “Mehrdad, Jacob and the rest of the team” at the National People’s Action group. After rejoicing in the fact that the President has freed millions “from the fear of being ripped from their families by deportations,” the letter makes the point that the job is not finished.

Here’s what it says::

This is a huge victory for all of us, especially those who have tirelessly fought to keep their families together. Because the President took bold action, millions of undocumented immigrants will be able to go to work, drop their children off at school, and go to worship without the fear of deportation.

Today’s announcement is a huge step forward, but Congress still needs to act. Make no mistake, we’ll keep fighting until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform that keeps all families together.

The way I see it, that’s what members of Congress should be talking about instead of mindlessly jabbering about dictators and emperors.

Click for the speech the networks didn’t carry.

Click for John Boehner’s reaction.

Click for more Republican outrage.

Click for Paul Krugman’s sane assessment.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for