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Ahead of a press conference by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) regarding his draconian immigration bill, immigration advocates and faith, business and civil rights leaders outlined the egregious effects of this bill on Dreamers, the economy, and millions of American families, and why no moderate Republican should consider supporting this bill.
Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Deputy Vice President, UnidosUS (@CMartinezDC), said, “Rep. Goodlatte is attempting a cruel bait-and-switch. He’s trying to take advantage of overwhelming public support for DREAMers, and dupe those who want to provide relief, to advance a proposal far outside the mainstream that cuts legal immigration, criminalizes immigrants for civil violations, and curtails the existing DACA program. Members of Congress who stand for real solutions should not fall for this trap.”
Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals, said, “We welcome a broad national debate on the best ways to reform our broken immigration system. We support smart border protection and conscientious enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. But we cannot endorse any proposal that would break up families, gut protection for refugees fleeing persecution, or criminalize and imprison undocumented workers, without offering them any way to earn legal status or citizenship. “
Gaby Pacheco, Immigrant Leader, said, “We can all recognize Rep. Goodlatte’s bill for what it truly is: a wolf poorly dressed in sheep’s clothing. It is a draconian proposal and a cruel attempt to beef up enforcement measures, criminalize immigrants, and go after Dreamers. While proposed as a solution, it leaves the DACA crisis unresolved; limits and tightens restrictions for those already DACA-eligible; and deems immigrants as second class citizens. This is a very dangerous bill that should not be supported by either party or anyone who claims to want to help Dreamers.”
Andrea Senteno, Legislative Staff Attorney, MALDEF, said, “The Securing America’s Future Act is a nativist wish list, that would slash legal immigration to the U.S., dedicate billions of dollars to breaking up families, and do nothing to fix the problem this Administration created with the unwarranted rescission of DACA and termination of TPS for many long-term residents. It would also be a blow to the American economy over the short- and long-term. With such low unemployment, now is not the time to pull a million workers out of the formal economy. This bill seeks to impose the entirety of the White House’s anti-Latino, anti-immigrant agenda (and then some), and at the cost of our families and economy.”
Peter Boogaard, Communications Director, FWD.US, said, “The Goodlatte/McSally bill is an extreme, hardline immigration enforcement proposal designed to remake our current immigration system by cutting legal immigration levels by nearly 70 percent. It goes far beyond any proposal to restrict and criminalize immigrants at any point in our nation’s recent history and would keep Dreamers in limbo indefinitely, by giving them only a temporary immigration status with no ability to become permanent members of our society. Simply put, this bill is a waste of precious time when we have no time to waste.”
It is no wonder that Goodlatte is championed by NumbersUSA, a nativist group and member of the John Tanton network, earning a career ‘A’ rating from the group and even receiving a “Blue Ribbon” award from the organization in 2010. In 2014, Goodlatte said of Dreamers, “Whether they came in illegally or whether they entered the country legally and overstayed a visa or a visa waiver, they should be required to leave. That’s what the law says and that’s how the law should be enforced.” As Lorella Praeli of the ACLU said in a New York Times piece on the proposal, the Goodlatte bill is a “collection of hard-line provisions designed to sabotage, rather than advance, the possibility of a bipartisan breakthrough.”