The following is a statement from Frank Sharry of America’s Voice Education Fund:
The announcement that the President and Democratic Congressional leaders are making progress on the bipartisan Dream Act is encouraging. Of course, it’s premature to comment on the content of an agreement that has not yet been specified and signed off on. Still, we welcome the fact that bipartisan talks are gaining momentum.
Going forward, we want to be clear about where we stand: 1) We want Congress to enact the bipartisan Dream Act without additional, unnecessary trade offs. This legislation, introduced in the Senate by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Graham (R-SC) and in the House by Representatives Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has strong bipartisan support and creates a roadmap to citizenship for young people who qualify; 2) We warn Republicans that efforts to use Dreamers as bargaining chips and pit groups of immigrants against each other – including insistence on using the Dream Act to add excessive border enforcement, a border wall, interior enforcement or cuts in legal immigration – will be seen for what they are: poison pill amendments aimed at killing the Dream Act; and 3) Given the fact that unauthorized border crossings are at historic lows – a trend underway for more than a decade – and that additional militarization of the border would harm millions of Americans who live in border communities, representatives and leaders from those communities should be involved in the evaluation of any measures that affect them.
We’ve done enforcement-only for years, and Americans are ready for a more balanced approach. The Dream Act is popular among voters from across the country and across the political spectrum. Imagine how refreshing it would be if Republicans and Democrats banded together to get it done.
Republicans have long argued that the proper way to address the situation of young immigrants who are Americans in all but paperwork is through Congress. Now is their opportunity to step up and do their job. The task is simple: Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan need to work with Democratic leaders to put the bill on the floor, and it will pass.
Any GOP attempts to hide behind vacuous labels, poison pill amendments and moving goalposts will be understood as nothing less than a commitment to upending the lives of 800,000 aspiring young people by taking away their jobs, their opportunities to attend college and the chance to support their families.