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CONTACT: Amanda Simon, 212-633-4162, [email protected]

New York, NY — In response to President Obama’s announcement of an executive order on immigration policy tonight, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:

“Today, the president has taken a bold action to lessen the impact of the United States immigration enforcement programs on many people across the country. The authority to issue such an order rests solely within the executive branch and is much-needed in light of Congress’ failure to fix the United States’ broken immigration system by passing comprehensive immigration reform.

“The executive order will ensure that some families can remain together and provide opportunities for immigrants to lawfully gain employment, preventing future abuses by employers who often take advantage of their workers’ status.

“Most of all, today’s executive order could prevent millions of people from being exposed to the human rights violations that Amnesty International has previously documented in the United States’ immigration enforcement, detention and deportation program.

“However, today’s executive action is only a temporary solution. Millions of immigrants will still be arbitrarily prevented from taking advantage of this opportunity while the next administration can simply undo President Obama’s executive orders. It is imperative that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform that is based on human rights principles and adheres to its obligations under international law to provide lasting relief to the more than 11 million immigrants in the United States who are out of status and out of options.”