President Obama (“Obama calls immigration fixes lawful and sensible,” Page A1, Nov. 21) has done the right and decent thing by issuing executive actions that will bring some humanity and common sense to our immigration system, recognized as “broken” by virtually all.

The Senate did its job a year and a half ago by passing an immigration reform bill that represented a good start on fixing the problem. The vote was 68-32, with 14 Republicans voting aye. The bill was strongly bipartisan and broadly reflective of the people’s will.

Five hundred and thirteen days later (and counting), the House of Representatives has still not gotten the green light from Speaker John Boehner to at least vote up or down on the bill.

He has failed miserably in his responsibility to move legislation forward. Either he is incompetent, or he is dead set against immigration reform of any kind. Either way, he has no good reason to oppose the president’s actions.

The argument that the president lacks the constitutional authority to issue executive orders in this area is specious. Every single president since Eisenhower, both Republican and Democratic, has at one time or another advanced immigration reform through executive action, and not one has been successfully challenged in court. Obama is following strong precedent.

The Republicans like to think of themselves as promoting family values. In this instance, their actions put the lie to their words. The most important immediate effect of Obama’s reforms will be to strengthen immigrant families by keeping them together. Children especially will benefit from the continued guidance and support of their parents.

If the Republicans don’t like Obama’s reform efforts, they should get out of the way – they had their chance. Or, better yet, they should take up Obama’s invitation at a second chance, and pass a bill!

Val C. Hart

Cumberland