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President Obama’s immigration changes will affect Hispanics across the country, including Indiana. The move will finally promote practical solutions for undocumented immigrants living in our communities – solutions for illegal aliens working beside us in manufacturing, construction, farming, service industries, janitorial sectors, kitchens and health care facilities. (See WSJ article here.) Obama’s announcement looks to prevent deportation that will affect millions of immigrants- some being actively deported or living under threat of deportation. His move will also likely expand opportunities for families under the Dreamer program known as Deferred Action or DACA.

Politically, the action is a partisan flash point. But it is long overdue since Indiana and the country have waited because of a political stalemate too long. Both Republicans and Democrats maintain respectable concerns on the broad issues of border protection, national security and homeland welfare. We have lived under this floating tension for too long. To begin with, our Melting Pot society was developed by immigrants. The country’s legal, economic and social systems were installed by immigrants seeking a fair, cohesive society. More recently, even Republican Presidents broadened opportunities for undocumented immigrants. In 1986 the U.S. Congress and President Reagan enacted changes to protect family units by offering relief for both spouses and children of those covered by new laws. President H.W. Bush took similar measures to protect families in 1989. Going back to the World War II era, American presidents took executive action to initiate the controversial Bracero Program where Mexican laborers were authorized to provide work and support our country’s infrastructure.

Nationalism is healthy. It’s natural and understandable. As a country that will always have borders, patriotism is necessary. But it is also necessary to be mindful of the moral and ethical considerations attached to immigration issues; mindful of the historical benefits produced by immigrants; mindful that immigration issues will always affect our country – they are not going to disappear.

Goodin Abernathy and Legalmente Hablando Indy passionately serve the Indiana immigrant population with our legal services. Attorney Jim Browne is the product of America’s immigration process. Attorney Emma Mahern is married to an immigrant. Our immigration services provide dependable, cost effective legal help across Indiana and we applaud the President’s efforts addressing these issues.