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Roundup: Responses to Release of Republican Principles on Immigration Reform

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Yesterday, House Republicans released a draft of their principles on immigration reform — guidelines which included a path to citizenship for DREAMers and legalization for most other immigrants.  You can read the response from America’s Voice here; view below for responses from others:

From Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

It is our hope that the presentation of these standards signals a sincere intent to move forward with immigration reform; however, the Republican principles raise more questions than answers.  First, what is the standard for DREAMers to become citizens of our country?  Next, what is required for immigrants to live legally in our nation, and will it result in full citizenship?  Finally, will Republicans’ enforcement triggers create more barriers instead of removing obstacles to comprehensive reform?

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD):

I am encouraged that House Republicans have put forward a set of principles for immigration reform and have now expressed a readiness to discuss how to fix our broken immigration system.  Issuing principles is a first step, and Republicans’ willingness to engage on this issue will ultimately be judged not by a statement of principles but by whether they can turn those principles into legislation and compromise in order to achieve reform.  House Democrats are ready to do our part and work across the aisle to achieve results.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL):

We have gone from the Republicans saying ‘self-deportation’ and ‘veto the DREAM Act,’ to saying we need bipartisan solutions in just about a year.  And we have gone from some Democrats saying immigration is too difficult an issue to handle to saying we need bipartisan solutions in just a few years.  We are now talking about how people stay and how they come legally, not how we kick out 11 million people and build a big moat around the country.

Nobody in Congress is talking about immediate citizenship for everyone and no one still talks about mass deportation for everyone.  We can find common ground that allows millions to eventually apply for citizenship, legalizes millions who are working and contributing to the country, and puts our economy, our security, and the legality of America’s workforce on solid ground.

The details really matter and I have not seen anything concrete from the Republicans so I am not in a position to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to anything.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which released its own statement of principles on immigration in 2012:

There are 196 Democratic and Republican Congress Members supporting H.R. 15, the comprehensive immigration reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The legislation and the votes are there to take action in the weeks and months ahead.  The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will continue leading on this important issue and will work with Republicans in a bipartisan manner to turn principles into legislative action.

United Farm Workers:

Now it’s time for them to translate these vague principles into a legislative proposal. Only then will we be able to judge whether House Republicans are serious about meeting our standards: an inclusive path to legal status upfront and an achievable path to citizenship over time.  Barring immigrants from citizenship and creating a permanent underclass is inconsistent with who we are as Americans.

Mi Familia Vota:

As Congress considers this issue, we urge members to remember that they are dealing with the lives of real people — our families, friends, coworkers, care givers and millions of others who share American values and aspirations for a better life. It is not fair to turn an issue that has such a detrimental effect on the lives of millions of members of our community into a game of political posturing. We urge congress to put aside politics and put people first.

The Latino community and more broadly, voters across the political spectrum, agree that a fair path to citizenship is the right solution. The debate should not be about legalization or citizenship, but legalization as a step on the path to citizenship. We do not want to create a permanent underclass by denying citizenship, and Congress should work toward the higher goal of incorporation versus exclusion.

United We Dream:

“Our community continues to live in perpetual fear and the urgency is real.  United We Dream’s commitment to our families is unwavering and we will challenge anybody who stands in the way of dignity and justice for our community,” said Lorella Praeli, Advocacy and Policy Director of United We Dream.   “Talk is cheap.  It’s time for Republican leaders in the House to produce a real bill, because the only action taken so far is voting with Steve King to deport DREAMers.  UWD stands ready to work with leaders of both parties on legislation that would provide our families a real solution.”

“We want concrete legislative proposals from politicians in Congress and DREAMers will not look kindly on any proposal that blocks or bars our parents from the dignity and justice  they deserve.  Leaving our parents behind in a permanent second class will never be acceptable.  We will never give up fighting for them. We are speaking out for legal status that allows our families to travel, work, and live freely and the have the opportunity to become citizens,” said Antonio Castanon of Atlanta, GA a member of United We Dream’s National Coordinating Committee and a leader with YCCIR, a UWD affiliate.  “We are closer than ever before and we will continue to fight tirelessly until our families’ dreams are realized.”

National Immigration Law Center:

Republican leadership has taken a step forward, and we’re pleased that they have finally decided to join the effort to revamp our nation’s immigration laws. Unfortunately, too many of the proposals outlined today remind us only of ghosts of anti-immigrant bills past: mandatory E-Verify without workplace protections, uncertain roads to permanent status in this country, and other blocks that could make the road to legalization — let alone citizenship — unaffordable and unattainable.