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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Advocates Discuss State of Play on Immigration Reform, Administrative Action, and the Emergency Supplemental

With the door having closed on immigration reform in Congress, the President is now compelled to step up and fill the vacuum.  The increase in Central American children arriving at our borders, fleeing gangs and violence, has only made it more crucial that he take bold, decisive action on multiple fronts.

On today’s Office Hours call, immigration advocates discussed the looming congressional battle over resources needed to address the child refugee situation, and the push for significant reforms to address the status of the millions who’ve long been living and working here with their families.

Said Kevin Appleby, Director of Migration Policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

What we’re seeing now in recent days is that there’s a ‘so-called’ compromise forming on Capitol Hill and that’s to undo the 2008 law that would provide necessary protections for these children fleeing violence.  From our perspective, it’s not a compromise.  It’s an abdication of responsibility and a total non-starter.  There are other ways to reach a real compromise, including providing resources to expedite the judicial process so these children get their day in court.  We find that it’s really tragic that the only issue the President and Republican leaders seem to agree on is deporting more kids and doing it as fast as they can.  We’re prepared to fight tooth and nail to make sure the rights of these child refugees are not undercut.

“Much like these unaccompanied children at the border, DREAMers and their families are all too familiar with the pain of family separation.  That’s why this week in Texas, United We Dream leaders held a vigil and volunteered at one of the shelters in McAllen, Texas,” said Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, Deputy Managing Director of United We Dream.  “Our country has a moral responsibility when it comes to policies involving children.  To deport these children – especially deporting them in expedited fashion without sufficient due process – will mean sending them back to the violent conditions which they fled and could even mean their death.  Now, it’s time for President Obama to step up and show leadership – especially while Republicans have abandoned sensible governance in favor of political attacks and more calls for mass-deportation.  That’s why we are calling on the President to build on the success of his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and to deliver relief for parents of Dreamers and parents of US citizens, while making long overdue reforms to deportation enforcement.”

Concluded Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

The President’s supplemental, while imbalanced, contains resources that are desperately needed.  But using the supplemental as a vehicle for making changes that undercut that ability of children to have a full and fair proceeding is neither acceptable nor needed.  The bigger picture, though, is this: it’s entirely predictable that House Republicans, fresh off their decision to block immigration reform, will block the supplemental in hopes of sticking the blame for the problem to the President.  If they do, I predict such a tactic will backfire.  It will show that the House GOP is incapable of governing responsibly and leave the President as the only adult in the room.  He would then have to do what the American people want done, which is to take practical steps to address both the situation at the border and to deal with undocumented immigrants who live and work in America.

To listen to a recording of today’s call, CLICK HERE.

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.