One of the first orders of business for the brand new Congress today was to undo President Obama’s administrative relief for certain undocumented immigrants. In a series of votes nearly along party lines, representatives sought to undo the president’s program through amendments to the funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security. Members also voted to end the highly successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides temporary legal status to DREAMers. We condemn these votes and are resolved to fight them and other similar proposals.
In a statement released shortly after the vote, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía expressed her disappointment:
“The House Republican leadership and Caucus may believe that they voted against the president today, but they actually voted against the millions of American families whose loved ones are working very hard to get right with the law. And they voted against millions more, including the majority of Americans who strongly support the substance of the president’s policy.
“Adding insult to injury, House Republicans voted to undo the one program in the last two decades that has done anything to help resolve our immigration issue, gratuitously harming hundreds of thousands of young people who are now able to make stronger contributions to our economy and communities. I cannot think of a more substantively offensive and politically disastrous step for Republicans to take at this moment in time. It is no secret that the GOP is in a severe deficit when it comes to the Latino community and the Hispanic vote; it is a well-known fact among the many Republicans who support a sensible and effective immigration solution, and polling confirms it.”
The Latino community will not forget that House Republicans actively worked to begin the 114th Congress with a political stunt meant to crush the hope given to families without any plausible alternatives in return.
On immigration reform, the president will act on his own if he has to. The president made these comments in a Rose Garden speech yesterday in response to House Speaker John Boehner’s announcement that the House would not be taking any votes on immigration reform this year. President Obama said he will use whatever executive authority he has to fix our broken immigration system and provide some relief the millions of aspring Americans facing deportation. Watch the president’s remarks below:
“By refusing to act on immigration reform, House Republication leadership has given the president no other choice but to take administrative action,” said Murguía. “They have the ability to restore the rule of law by passing a permanent legislative solution on immigration reform, and have instead chosen to perpetuate a broken system that causes enormous and unnecessary human suffering for the Latino community. They willfully disregard that passing immigration reform is in the nation’s best economic interests and that the majority of Americans across a broad political spectrum overwhelmingly support immigration reform. With House Republican leadership continuing to obstruct progress on this issue, NCLR welcomes executive actions from the White House to ease the pain that our community is forced to endure every day.”
With two million deportations that have occurred and more than 277,000 deportations of parents of U.S. citizen chilren, Murguia made clear that our community can no longer wait. We will work with the Obama administration to develop and implement executive actions that will limit deportations to those responsible for serious crimes or to those who pose threats to our national security. We also call on the president to build upon the successes of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by offering work authorization and relief from deportation to those who can show family connections to U.S. citizens and others who are in the United States lawfully.
“We urge Speaker Boehner to reconsider his decision,” Murguía said. “And if he does, we stand ready to work with Congress and the administration to fashion a bipartisan solution. However, our community cannot continue to wait on legislation while our families are ripped apart.”