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Today, House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration bill that draws on the bill approved on a bipartisan basis in the Senate, and on the McCaul-Thompson border security bill approved on a bipartisan basis by the House Homeland Security Committee.
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
We are pleased to see Democrats step up and introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill that consists of policies that enjoy bipartisan support. Now, it’s put up or shut up time for Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the House GOP leadership. How they respond to the introduction of this bill will speak volumes. Do they move toward the mainstream and work with Democrats to get immigration reform done? Or do they continue to let extremists in the GOP drive their strategy on immigration and drive the party over the demographic cliff?
The House bill addresses all aspects of the immigration system, including how to provide immediate legal status and eventual citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America. It is not a perfect bill, nor is it a progressive “marker” bill. In fact, we at America’s Voice have concerns that the bill eliminates the diversity visa program, eliminates the sibling category from the family immigration system and excludes some undocumented immigrants from its legalization and citizenship provisions. But we get it: Democrats decided to include only language that was approved on a bipartisan basis in both the Senate and House as a way to encourage bipartisanship in the House.
This bill represents a serious opening offer. We expect it will rally Democrats and pressure Republicans. It also will lay bare the simple fact that right now – today – the votes exist in the House to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Republicans can either meet Democrats at the negotiating table and share credit for passing reform, or shoulder the responsibility for blocking the best chance at real immigration reform in decades.
Currently, there are 26 House Republicans members who say they support immigration reform with a path to citizenship, and an unknown number who haven’t been vocal yet. These 26 will soon be facing pressure from constituents to cosponsor the bipartisan policy introduced today, or convince their leadership to do something more than the partisan pieces Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is readying for floor votes.
The public supports it, the Democrats want it and the Republicans need it. Our movement is getting stronger every day and we will continue to ratchet up the pressure until Republican leaders take action. At the end of the day, though, nothing is going to pass the House unless leaders from both Parties come together to get this done.
This weekend, thousands of immigration supporters will gather at over 160 events and rallies in over 80 cities and next week, the movement will gather once again in DC to pressure House Republicans on Capitol Hill.