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Frank Sharry on House GOP Anti-Immigrant Votes: “From ‘Self-Deportation’ in 2012 to ‘Maximum Deportations’ in 2016”

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The following is a reaction from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, in response to House Republicans’ passage today of anti-immigrant legislation that would overturn last November’s executive actions, end the DACA program for DREAMers, and maximize deportations of undocumented immigrants settled in America:

With this vote, the Republican Party has lurched even further to the right on immigration, from its support of ‘self-deportation’ in the run up to the 2012 election to an embrace of ‘maximum deportations’ in the run up to the 2016 election. 

Talk of a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration policies, which had its moment in the sun after the 2012 election, is now a distant memory.  Congressional leadership and the Republican National Committee have made it clear that their priority is to overturn the most important immigration policy changes in a generation. 

Despite their protestations and process arguments, the facts are clear.  Today the vast majority of House Republicans voted to put over 5 million immigrants, including parents of American children, Dreamers who grew up in America and military families who risk the ultimate sacrifice, back on the path to deportation.  Today the House Republicans put the stability of funding for homeland security in jeopardy in order to tell immigrants that ‘we don’t like your kind.’  Today the House Republicans helped cement their reputation as a party hostile to the fastest growing groups of new voters in America, Latinos, Asian-Americans and immigrants. 

The vast majority of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform.  The vast majority of Americans understand that mass deportation is both impractical and inhumane.  And yet, as today’s votes demonstrate, the vast majority of House Republicans have turned their back on comprehensive immigration reform and embraced mass deportation. 

What most Republicans don’t seem to get is that for millions of Americans this issue is deeply personal.  All the clever sound bites in the world about constitutional equilibrium do not lessen the impact of telling an American child that their parents should be deported, of telling a Dreamer that they have no claim on the country they grew up in, of telling a military family that while one spouse is on the front lines defending our nation, the other could be at the front of the line for deportation.

The good news is that this political show by Congressional Republicans will fail to stop the most important changes in immigration policy in a generation but will succeed in hastening the day when we have a pro-reform majority in both chambers of Congress.  The bad news is that a major political party told millions of aspiring Americans that they aren’t good enough to join the American family.