Last night, House Speaker Paul Ryan was questioned regarding his stance on immigration reform and DACA during a townhall with Jake Tapper (full transcript available here). Below, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, responds to Speaker Ryan.
“Empty promises from the Speaker will not protect Dreamers, nor do they change the fact that the Republican Congress and their President-elect are still on course to end DACA. Doing so would be cruel. It would de-legalize 750,000 immigrants who came forward, presented themselves to the federal government, completed background checks and received work permits. They are working legally, attending universities, supporting themselves and their families and contributing to the country they call home.
“If Speaker Ryan truly believes that Dreamers should not be deported and should be allowed to continue contributing, then he and other GOP leaders should clearly state that Republicans will keep DACA in place until legislation that replaces it is signed into law.
“Interested observers should not be fooled. The leadership understands they will look bad if they revoke DACA, but their base insists on it. Look for more yummy sounds about contributions and legislation, but notice how not one GOP leader – not the President-elect, not his nominees for DOJ or DHS, not the Speaker of the House – has promised to preserve DACA or enact legislation to protect those with DACA. What is predictable, at this point at least, is that the Trump Administration will revoke DACA and allow work permits to expire in the coming months, all while stating that the proper way to deal with this sympathetic group is legislation. And then, to add insult to injury, Republican Congress leaders will continue to hide behind the same excuse it has used for the last decade: ‘we have to secure the border first, before we can even consider doing something compassionate.’
“In the fact-based world, the border is more secure than it’s been in 40 years. The majority of people who arrive at our border are not Mexicans looking for work, but Central Americans fleeing violence. The Central Americans are not trying to evade detection, they are presenting themselves to border patrol agents to ask for asylum and other forms of protection. However, in the right wing universe of discredited canards and distorted memes, the border is out of control, which means that treating American kids decently is something for later – after they’ve been thrown out of jobs and universities.
“In the fact-based world, there’s a deportation force that is already in place. It’s called ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Trump insists that this deportation force should be tripled in size and be allowed to go anywhere and pick up anyone. In Paul Ryan’s universe, there is not and will not be a deportation force, a statement that suggests willful ignorance.
“We are tired of Republicans throwing sand in the face of the public to hide their failure to address an immigration system crying out for reform. They have blocked immigration reform legislation multiple times in the past decade. Then they sued to block President Obama’s attempts to protect some 5 million undocumented immigrants through executive action. And now they are on the verge of dashing the hopes and futures of 750,000 young people who make America better every day.
“Please, no more games, spin and obfuscation. It’s a time for action that produces concrete results, not a clever PR strategy designed to obscure a harsh revocation of opportunity – one that seems just days away.”