During a press conference today with United We DREAM and other immigration reform leaders, our Executive Director Frank Sharry gave brief remarks on why the immigration movement will not accept half-measures like the KIDS Act. Today, the House Immigration Subcommittee will hear testimony on a bill that could give legal status and citizenship to DREAMers–while leaving their parents vulnerable to deportation. But Frank’s comments (in addition to this scathing La Opinión editorial today) provides an applicable answer to why the movement will not accept any GOP half-measure on immigration that does not involve citizenship for the 11 million. A transcript and the video follows:
People ask me, weren’t you for the DREAM Act in 2010? What’s the difference?
There’s a world of difference between then and now. That was then. That was when comprehensive immigration reform couldn’t get through Congress. That was when the DREAM Act was blocked, primarily by Republican opposition. And that was when the DREAMers led the way in fighting for deferred action, creating a space by which reform could be revisited.
And now, after an election in which Republicans have been spanked by Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters, they’re saying ‘we’ve got to do something!’ That’s what Speaker Boehner said. Inaction is not an option. So let’s do something.
The Senate passed an important though imperfect bill on a bipartisan basis that has an inclusive path to legal status and an eventual but achievable path to citizenship. Right now in the House of Representatives, there are more than 218 votes for a similar bill. When I hear about Hastert rule and piecemeal and all this process mumbo-jumbo, I’m like, ‘give us a vote, dude.’ Right now the only thing standing between the people behind me and their families getting on a path to citizenship is a Republican procedural excuse, when the votes exist right now to pass it.
So yeah, in 2010, we were fighting for what we can get. In 2013, we’re fighting for what we can get and what we have earned.
You can ask, well, aren’t the Republicans doing something? Yeah, they’re climbing out of the Stone Age into the Middle Age. And I want to be the first one to congratulate them. But the challenge is to enter the 21st century and modernize our immigration system so we get something workable and humane, and reflects our values and serves our interests. You don’t like the Senate bill? Then come up with your own version. But it’s got to be comprehensive, it’s got to have an inclusive path to citizenship and it’s got to have an achievable path to citizenship.
Watch the video below:
For more, read La Opinión’s editorial blasting House GOP for KIDS Act
And from Greg Sargent at the Washington Post: Hispanic media unlikely to be swayed by GOP half-measures on immigration