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America’s Voice Vote Recommendations: A Strong Yes Vote on McCain-Coons; A Strong No Vote on Grassley, Toomey and Heller; A Reluctant Yes Vote on Rounds-King

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The following is America’s Voice vote recommendations ahead of today’s Senate votes on immigration:

The choice before us is binary: vote for or against. At the end of today, the Senate will have approved a bill to put Dreamers on a path to citizenship or not. We encourage Senators to vote an emphatic no on Grassley, an emphatic yes on McCain-Coons, and a reluctant yes on Rounds-King.

We believe that our cause – freedom and equality for Dreamers and all undocumented immigrants – is advanced by ending today with a defeat of Trump’s radical plan – as embodied in the Grassley bill – and a victory for a bipartisan measure that expresses the strong desire of the American people to give some two million young immigrants the opportunity to apply for permanent status and citizenship.

This is not a decision we make lightly. The Rounds-King bill, in particular, has measures that we do not support: $25 billion over ten years for border security and construction of a border wall; a restriction on the ability of Dreamers to sponsor their parents after they become citizens; the eventual elimination of a category of family reunification, which will end the ability of green card holders to sponsor their unmarried adult children; and the codification of enforcement priorities that could prove problematic over time.

But after much soul-searching, we believe the chance to provide a permanent solution for Dreamers calls us to swallow these bitter pills in order to advance the cause of justice and freedom for young immigrants who are Americans in all but paperwork.

The McCain-Coons bill pairs the Dream Act with border security measures that we believe are far more reasonable and proportionate. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this measure will gain enough support to pass the 60-vote threshold required in the Senate. The Rounds-King bill is the more difficult bill for us to support, but it is the bill that has the best chance to garner 60 votes. Many of our colleagues do not support it, precisely because they believe it goes too far and adopts some of the radical demands made by President Trump. We respect those who come down in a different place and ask that they respect our decision to recommend a yes vote.

For us, this is about people we know and love. It’s about Juan, Sara, Maria, Leezia, Yoli, Jose Antonio, Tolu and so many more. It’s also about our mission as an organization: to fight for the legalization of undocumented immigrants with deep ties and strong equities. This is an imperfect but important step forward in that long journey. And we won’t stop until 11 million undocumented immigrants are free from fear and allowed to formally join the nation they love and have made their home.