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Immigration Reform "Office Hours"

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 Leaders Weigh in on Lynch Nomination; DOJ Lawsuit; Other Developments

To listen to a recording of today’s call, click here.

Washington, DC – Next week, after months of GOP slow walking and delay, the Senate will vote on Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.  Bitter over their failed effort to shutdown Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a handful of GOP “moderate” senators have been waffling in their support of Lynch, after Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) decided to make the confirmation process of this crucial position yet another Republican referendum on immigration.

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “It seems that every time the Republican-controlled Senate takes up something important, it devolves into an immigration fight.  This is an unprecedented level of anti-immigration obsession from the GOP, beyond anything we’ve seen before.  The fact that several senators who claim to be moderates are finding common cause with the anti-immigrant, extremist wing, and potentially opposing the confirmation of Loretta Lynch because of it, is simply astounding.”

“Using this nomination as a proxy for policy disagreements with the President is anathema to the Senate’s obligation to provide ‘advice and consent’ on nominees,” said Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.  “Wisely, a few Republican senators – Senators Hatch, Flake, Graham and Collins – have decided to judge the nominee on the basis of her character, integrity and experience. But that wisdom seems to be in short supply among many of their colleagues, who seem to care more about undermining our president than making sure that important agencies of our government – including the Department of Justice – have the capable, responsible leadership needed to serve the American people.  For these senators to vote against Lynch – who would be the first African-American woman Attorney General – is an abdication of their responsibility and threatens to undo the fragile work of building trust between communities and law enforcement.  We hope that more Republicans will reject this extremism outright and join the rest of the country, who want a competent, measured, and qualified Attorney General.”

Added Fred Tsao, Senior Policy Counsel at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant Refugee Rights, “One of the key Republican holdouts on the Lynch nomination is our own Senator Mark Kirk.  Senator Kirk’s reputation is that of a moderate, but when it comes to immigration, he’s been less than sympathetic to reform and the concerns of immigrants.  Recently, he voted with his own leadership to proceed with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bill that would have rolled back  the President’s executive actions.  It’s important to note that there was polling released showing strong support for executive action in Illinois and that Illinois voters would view Kirk as less favorable if he were to undo it.  So one has to wonder where Sen. Kirk really stands on immigration.  The fact that immigration is entering into the mix on the Loretta Lynch nomination and the fact that Kirk has been so reluctant to endorse her is very disturbing.  We call upon Kirk to not only support Lynch’s nomination, but also to move forward and urge his colleagues to support legislative action on immigration reform.”

In addition to the ongoing Loretta Lynch nomination fight on Capitol Hill, the Texas lawsuit against DAPA and expanded DACA continues to make its way through the courts.  Yesterday, DOJ asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift an injunction on the President’s executive actions.  Their case was further bolstered by 14 states who filed amicus briefs in support of the administration as well as over 100 legal scholars who called the Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling blocking the President’s actions “deeply flawed.”

Said Karen Tumlin, Managing Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, “Each day that the district court’s injunction remains in place hurts our economy and prevents people from contributing more fully to their communities. Yesterday, the Department of Justice took a strong stand in defense of the President’s immigration initiatives by filing an emergency stay with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. If granted, the programs will be allowed to go forward and we, as a nation, will finally be able to take the first steps to stop the damage caused by our broken immigration system.”

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