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America’s Voice Reacts to McCarthy Statement on Immigration Votes in 2013

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Igor Volsky at Think Progress writes: “House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told immigration advocates that lawmakers will not take-up immigration reform this year. As a result, an amendment to deport DREAM-eligible immigrants — which passed with overwhelming GOP support in June — will be the only immigration measure to have received a vote on the floor of the House in 2013.”  

Following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

It is an outrage that a member of House leadership is saying there will not be a vote on a path to citizenship this year.  Is he speaking for the rest of leadership?  What say you, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)?

The idea that there isn’t enough time to vote on immigration reform is absurd.  Right now, today, the votes exist to pass broad immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  The House has November and December to find a few days to schedule it.  Passing immigration reform isn’t a matter of the calendar, it’s a matter of will.

In fact, earlier this year GOP leaders found time to give Steve King a vote on his amendment to deport DREAMers.  They could certainly find time to bring a citizenship plan forward this year. They’ve been drafting immigration bills in the backroom for years, they just need to get the ball rolling by introducing legislation and scheduling time for debate on the floor.

We are not deterred by their inaction because we believe in the power of our movement.  We get stronger every day, and if House leaders really do refuse to bring citizenship up for a vote this year, the reaction from our movement will be strong and widespread.  We are motivated by the fact that every day the House fails to act on immigration reform is a day that another 1,120 American families are separated by deportation.  And, we’ll keep fighting—both in the Congress and against the Administration—to stop the deportations of people who should be on a path to permanent residence, not permanent separation.

 If House Republicans aren’t swayed by the human toll of our broken immigration system, we’ll speak to them in a language they must understand—the language of politics.  In 2012 the GOP was thrashed by Latino voters who reacted strongly to Mitt Romney’s embrace of self-deportation.  In 2013 governor’s races, Latino voters rewarded Republican Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey for leaning in a pro-immigrant direction, and punished Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia for being an anti-immigrant hardliner.

In 2014, more than 40 House Republicans with real races will have to answer to Latino voters. Some of these Republicans will lose if the immigration issue is not resolved before then.  And if Republicans are to blame for blocking immigration reform heading into the 2016 elections, Democrats could win 2016 (House, Senate, and Presidential races) in a landslide.

Republicans can’t run away from their record on immigration reform and they can’t run away from our movement.  It’s important to understand the context in which Rep. Kevin McCarthy made his latest statement.  The third-ranking Republican in the House had to leave his home very late on a Thursday night to meet with a group of immigrants and advocates who were holding a protest in his district office.  In DC, McCarthy and other GOP leaders are insulated from activists. But not at home.  The level of activism that resulted in the GOP Whip having to meet with mothers and others in the middle of the night is only going to escalate around the country and in Washington until McCarthy and other Republicans act.

What Republican leaders need to understand is that our movement is going to succeed.  We are ascendant—and growing.  The question for the GOP is whether they decide to do the right thing and pass reform—or continue over the demographic cliff.