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Memo to GOP: It’s Time for Immigration Reform With Citizenship for Dreamers AND Their Families

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Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee meets for a hearing that will discuss the KIDS Act, a DREAM Act-lite proposal that some Republicans are considering taking up instead of immigration reform for the 11 million.  As Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) recently said, “We’ve been there, we’ve done that, that’s so yesterday.  [That’s] last century’s conversation on immigration.”

Some of the prominent House Republicans at tomorrow’s hearing were among the leading opponents of the DREAM Act when the House passed it in 2010, with all but 8 Republicans voting against it. Some of them still oppose any relief for DREAMers.  Other Republicans have evolved on the issue, but they still have some explaining to do.  Do they agree with the outrageous comments from King and others below?  And will they support a path to citizenship for all immigrants?

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), former Immigration Subcommittee Vice Chairman:

  • “If you support this nightmare DREAM Act , you are actually supporting an “affirmative action amnesty act” that rewards people for breaking the law and punishes those who defend America.“ (floor debate, 12/8/2010)
  • “We have lots of people that sneak across the border that aren’t 16 years old. Some of the accomplished coyotes are under 16 years old. Some of the accomplished drug smugglers are under 16 years old. You have got a murderer down in Mexico that was reported in the news who is–I will call him a serial contract killer that’s just been arrested that apparently–I mean, it’s alleged, and he is not yet convicted, that multiple times he has executed people in the drug wars, and he is 14 years old.” (floor debate, 12/8/2010)
  • “The nightmare act is amnesty. Now, we need to come to an agreement on what amnesty is. I have long said that to grant amnesty is to pardon immigration lawbreakers and reward them with the objective of their crime.” (floor debate, 12/8/2010)
  • Fraud and corruption is a big business. It is a big business in the countries they are coming from, and it is becoming a bigger business in the country they are coming to, the United States of America. We have been a clean country that respects the rule of law.” (floor debate, 12/8/2010)
  • “(T)here’s a filter that’s been set up worldwide. It sets up at the borders of the United States … And this vigor of Americans that comes from every country in the world and every walk of life, this unique vigor, because of this filter, kept the slackers out. The doers got here because it was hard to get here.” (floor debate, 12/8/2010)
  • “You can’t separate the DREAM Act kids from those that came across the border with a pack of contraband across their back.” (anti-immigration rally, 6/10/2013)

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Judiciary Committee Chairman

  • The DREAM Act will encourage more illegal immigration since illegal immigrant parents will bring their children with them in the expectation that they will benefit from another DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is a dream for those who have broken the law, but a nightmare for law-abiding and taxpaying Americans.” (floor debate, 12/8/2010)

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Immigration Subcommittee Vice Chairman

  • “Why would Congress pass a law that discriminates against Americans and lawful immigrants to the benefit of those who break our laws?” (statement, 12/2/2010)

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), former Judiciary Committee Chairman

  • “We all know that the point of this bill is to give amnesty to anyone who is in the country illegally and who is under 30 years old.” (floor debate, 12/2010)
  • “The DREAM Act is a nightmare for the American people.” (floor debate, 12/8/2010)

To distract from the inconvenient truth that their hearing about being nice to DREAMers will be full of Republicans who have voted against them time and again, the Committee is hosting a “Member Panel” with 3 Republicans in purple districts. One of them is Cory Gardner, who wasn’t in Congress in 2010 but said when campaigning that “ ‘amnesty’ and a ‘path to citizenship’ is the same thing.” The second is Mike Coffman, who voted against the DREAM Act in 2010 and called it a “nightmare”—but has recently been “evolving” on the issue and published an op-ed Sunday’s Denver Post calling for “comprehensive immigration reform” in which DREAMers could attain citizenship directly and possibly other immigrants, too (though this part of his position was less clear):

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)

  • “A comprehensive immigration reform proposal must incorporate three essential elements: it must secure our borders and provide for the effective enforcement of our immigration laws; it must contribute to the economic growth of our country; and it must be compassionate in keeping families together.” (Denver Post, 7/21/2013)

And then there’s Jeff Denham—who supports comprehensive reform, the Senate bill, and citizenship for ALL 11 million.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA)

  • “Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), who represents a heavily Hispanic Central Valley district, said the need for comprehensive reform comes up in ‘every phone call I make, every town hall. It’s a huge issue in my district.’
  • “‘I am concerned with the Republican Party from a national perspective. We have very diverse districts around the entire nation, and I think how we handle the overall immigration issue could have dramatic impacts to the future of the Republican Party. We need to message this right,’ Denham said in an interview. ‘It’s a personal issue for me. I’ve been working on it for years.’
  • “Asked about the Senate bill that his party keeps rejecting, Denham said, ‘I think the Senate’s done a good job.’” (Politico, 7/9/13)