Immigrant Leaders Decry House Leadership Move to Advance Anti-Immigrant Bill as They Continue to Block Vote on Immigration Reform
For Immediate Release:
Friday, March 7, 2014
Contact: Dawn Le, 202-549-6798
Washington, DC—This week the House Judiciary committee passed Rep. Diane Black's (R-TN) anti-immigrant bill out of committee and Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte has plans to move it for a floor vote.
This is the first bill to advance since the House Republicans rolled out their principles on immigration last month and Speaker John Boehner acknowledged that it was time to get reform done. Yet rather than attempting to overhaul an immigration system everyone agrees is broken, Republicans have offered a bill that would eliminate the role of one Department of Homeland Security staff person. This bill puts on full display the massive political miscalculation the Republicans have made—and continue to make on the immigration issue.
This move by Republicans reveals that the extremist wing of the party is still clearly in charge, as real reform gets tabled and political messaging bills like this one are the only ones to see the light of day.
“In Tennessee, we’ve long known that Rep. Diane Black holds extremist views when it comes to immigration, said Stephen Fotopulos, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. “What’s most upsetting about this bill passing out of the Judiciary committee is that the House leadership seems to be giving her a platform.”
Immigrant leaders from states who’ve been targeting Republican Congressmen to support real immigration reform also expressed their dismay with this legislative development.
Angelica Salas, the Executive Director for CHIRLA in California said, “It’s as if Republicans can’t help themselves. They say they are moving in the right direction, but then they have a knee-jerk reaction that always brings them back to these hateful, politically-motivated actions. Republicans and Democrats are already beginning to pay the price for its inaction on immigration reform and it’s only going to get worse if they don’t quickly learn their lesson.”
“John Boehner said just a few short weeks ago that it was time to get immigration reform done. The next thing we get is this bill to eliminate the only staff person at DHS there to hear the side of immigrants caught in the deportation machine,” said Laura Martin, Communications Director of PLAN Action Fund. “Rep. Joe Heck has said he supports immigration reform with a path to citizenship, but actions speak louder than words. It’s time for the reformers in the Republican Party to stand up to the extremists or the whole party is going to suffer.”
"This is just another sign that immigration reform is not moving forward in the House because of an obstructionist minority among the Republican leadership,” said Maria Rodriguez, the Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “It is time to heed the call of the majority of voters, including the voices in their own party like Representative Diaz-Balart who recently expressed that we are ready for reform."