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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Rep. Gutiérrez and Janet Murguía Discuss Multi-Pronged Approach to Pressuring Republicans and President Obama to Deliver Reform

An array of calls from both the pro-reform movement and congressional Leaders, calling on the White House to rollback deportations, drew attention far and wide this week.  And while this may mean short-term heartburn for the White House, it could mean long-term political disaster for the Republican Party if they continue to block immigration reform this year.

The question before House Republican Leadership is this: will they take action and work to move immigration reform forward or will they cede the initiative to President Obama who will undoubtedly respond to the intensifying pressure by taking executive action on behalf of the 11 million, much like he did with DACA in 2012?

“We cannot rely on administrative relief alone,” Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR, said on today’s Office Hours call.  “It is important and it is needed, but it is also limited and temporary.  Only Congress can deliver a broad, inclusive, lasting solution, and there will be political consequences if the House does not act.”

As longtime immigration champion, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), added:

When I and others call the President the Deporter in Chief, that is not contradictory with the President being a champion of immigration reform legislation.  Look, I want President Obama to be the Bill-signer in Chief and I think we are all pushing in the same direction.

Meanwhile, amidst the chorus of calls for administrative relief this week, House Republicans advanced a bill in the House Judiciary Committee that “would prohibit any money for the public advocate for immigrants in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” per an assessment from the Associated Press.  House Republicans are, apparently, pushing immigration measures forward – but they’re not measures to reform our immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans. Instead, they’re considering a bill aimed at eliminating the one position at ICE whose function is to reach out to the immigrant community rather than slapping them in chains, and who is responsible for preventing immigrant sexual assaults, deaths, and abuses.

Interestingly, despite calls from several GOP Judiciary Members to bring the Black bill to the floor, a vote on the measure has yet to be scheduled.

“When it comes to immigration reform, the House Judiciary Committee continues to mark-up the restrictionist agenda bill by bill.  It would be a scandal if the first complete immigration bill to get a vote on the House floor after the release of broad GOP principles is something like the Black bill,” said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice. “Republican leaders may have realized, for now, that putting the Black bill on the House floor would give them a round of bad publicity.  But that doesn’t mean the Republican Party doesn’t have a voice on immigration reform—it just means that the voice we’re hearing is from Goodlatte’s committee under the spell of Steve King.”

To list to a recording of today’ call, click HERE.