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For House Republicans who call themselves supporters of immigration reform, their vote for the so-called ENFORCE Act (HR 4138) today thoroughly undermines their so-called commitment to reform. Consideration of a related measure, HR 3973, continues tonight and a vote is expected tomorrow.
As we noted earlier, the bill seeks to strip the President’s executive authority powers in many areas. The House Judiciary Committee explicitly cited the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers as a major impetus for the legislation (see here and here). This bill, and its companion HR 3973, would gut the deferred action program for DREAMers and attempt to prevent the President from filling the vacuum left by Republican inaction on immigration reform with bold executive action. As if it wasn’t enough to vote with Rep. Steve King (R-IA) last year to defund DACA and subject DREAMers to deportation and slam the brakes on common-sense immigration reform a few weeks ago, House Republicans today cemented their anti-immigrant reputation.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
You can talk the talk or you can walk the walk. Today makes it clear that House Republicans are currently unable to see past their hatred of President Obama to do what’s in their own political interest, stop bashing immigrants, and move forward with real reform. The bottom line is this: if House Republicans continue to follow Steve King’s initiative on immigration, they will cede the initiative to the executive branch, and we are optimistic that the movement for immigration reform will be successful in moving the President to act boldly to protect millions of undocumented immigrants now threatened with deportation and family separation.
“We were particularly disappointed to see so-called Republican reformers like Jeff Denham, David Valadao, and Mike Coffman support this measure, along with Democrats such as Henry Cuellar and Pete Gallego. They know better. This is playing politics with people’s lives. The people who voted for this bill need to realize that the problem isn’t with Obama—it’s with them, “ added Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice.