Yesterday, House Republicans ONCE AGAIN voted against prosecutorial discretion and programs like deferred action (DACA), when they passed a bill (the ENFORCE Act) that would allow Congress to sue the President in federal court if he tries to use his executive authority on certain laws. Effectively, the vote pits Republicans against DREAMers, who would still be getting deported without DACA; military families who were recently given relief; and American families who would have lost their loved ones to deportation had it not been for last-minute stays.
House Democrats certainly understood what was at stake, and ripped into Republicans for the vote. Below is a few of their comments. Here’s Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) pointing out that the ENFORCE Act would lead to the deportation of veterans’ family members:
This is nothing new. We’ve used parole authority pursuant to the immigration act in faithful enforcement of the law to prevent Cubans from being deported back to Cuba since John F. Kennedy was President of the United States. And for the majority to suggest that keeping the wives of American soldiers who are under fire in Afghanistan from being deported is ‘an unlawful extension of parole in place,’ I think it’s a truly shocking and I would say very distressing and disturbing phenomena. We knew that the majority wanted to deport the DREAM Act kids because they voted for the King amendment last year. When Democrats took the DREAM Act up for a vote, all but eight voted against it. But you want to deport the wives of American soldiers in Afghanistan, I’m sorry, it’s a new low.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) pointed out that even more loved ones would be torn away from their families without prosecutorial discretion:
Over a 2-year period, according to the Applied Research Center, 200,000 parents of American citizens — like Liz’s parents — were deported. And I hear how my colleagues in the Judiciary Committee, they talk about Latinos, especially immigrant Latinos, like we’re all criminals and drug cartel kingpins. And therefore we have to arrange our entire immigration system as if we’re all violent felons.
But what about Liz and her family? Liz is not a drug kingpin in her fourth grade class. Her parents and her siblings are not methheads and meth chemists. But the random deportation will landed on them and according to Republicans, they’re willing to sue the President in federal court if he takes action to spare this father of four American children from deportation.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, released a statement on the ENFORCE Act and another bill that will come to the floor today — the Faithful Execution of the Law Act:
House Republicans are doubling down on a strategy to defeat immigration reform. These two billswould disable the President’s ability to temporarily alleviate deportations and the separation of families. At the same time, Republicans are shutting down every effort in the House to vote on bipartisan legislation that would finally fix our broken immigration system.
Overwhelmingly, the American people support immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. Yet this do-nothing Congress continues to gamble with people’s lives and our country’s economy by blockading any legal pathway to relief through legislation or executive action. It has been five months since House Democrats proposed a bipartisan solution to our dysfunctional immigration laws. The time is now tovote on H.R. 15.
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA):
I rise to speak against a misguided anti-immigration bill that is being considered in the House today. The ENFORCE Act would challenge the executive order that halts the deportation of young people who are studying and working to become contributing members of our society.
This is another attack on immigrant communities by my colleagues on the other side of the aisles. It’s proof that their actions don’t match their rhetoric.
They want the Latino community’s support, but they refuse to allow a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.
Instead of working to keep hardworking families together, they are punishing communities by pushing misguided legislation. To my republican colleagues, you can’t have it both ways.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM):
Once again House Republicans are showing how out of touch they are with the American people. A majority of Americans want Congress to take action on immigration reform with a path to citizenship. But instead of moving forward with legislation that is good for our economy, good for our security, and reflects the contributions immigrants make to our country, House Republicans are seeking to end the President’s effort to support Dreamers who represent the promise of America. Brought here by no fault of their own to the only home they have known, so many have worked hard with the goal of building a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. Republicans say they support reform. They say the support giving Dreamers a path to citizenship. But actions speak louder than words, and the only action they have taken undermines support for Dreamers and indicates House Republicans are not yet serious about addressing real immigration reform.
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM):
The ENFORCE the Law Act and the Faithful Execution of the Law Act is just another attempt by House Republicans to pass the buck on fixing our broken immigration system. Instead of working with Democrats to address immigration, House Republicans are more interested in eliminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and deporting DREAMers who came to this country through no fault of their own. Now is the time to stop playing political games with people’s lives and fix our broken immigration system.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney yesterday expressed astonishment that House Republicans would take up such anti-immigrant bills after spending so much time not passing immigration reform:
So it is, in my view, in our view, pretty amazing that today House Republicans went in the opposite direction by passing legislation targeting the deferred action for childhood arrivals policy that removed the threat of deportation for young people brought to this country as children, known as DREAMers.
The House Judiciary Committee made clear that both the ENFORCE Act, that you mentioned, and the Faithful Execution of the Law Act were promoted in part by that policy and opposition to it. Unfortunately, this is the second time House Republicans have targeted DREAMers during this Congress, following up on the amendment sponsored by Representative Steve King last year…
It doesn’t require much to look at what House Republicans are doing today to question whether or not they’re serious about moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform.