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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) and Immigrant Advocates Discuss Child Refugee Crisis, Executive Action

The story regarding Central American unaccompanied children arriving at our border is developing fast.  Congress is considering a $3.7 billion supplemental budget request as well as how best to speed up the processing of the kids, many of whom are fleeing violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, without sacrificing full and fair proceedings.  Republicans are arguing for less money and more restrictions.  Meanwhile, anti-immigrant groups are increasingly shrill in their opposition.

What is happening now, and what is likely to happen?  And what is the potential impact on the President’s promise to take aggressive executive action on behalf of the nation’s undocumented immigrants?

On today’s Office Hours press call, we answered all these questions and more.

“Just as it’s important that we address this humanitarian crisis, it’s equally important that we don’t rush to change our laws in a way that would put these children at risk of death or abuse,” said Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). “Republicans need to stop arguing for less money, more restrictions and rescinding DACA, as this will only make it harder to pass the needed resources to address our nation’s border crisis. A clean supplemental would give the President the resources he needs. As I’ve explained my view of the law to him and his Cabinet, he does not need any additional legal authorities to deal with this terrible crisis.”

“It is not enough to try to understand the situation, we must find a solution, and if Congress isn’t going to take action, the President should,” urged Representative Joe Garcia (D-FL). “This humanitarian crisis is but a symptom of an extremely broken immigration system that affects all of us alike – rich and poor, old and young, immigrant and non. It is time to put partisan politics aside and find a bipartisan solution to this age old problem that will continue to destroy families, our economy, and our nation’s future, if not fixed.”

As the debate in Congress continues, the ugliness and the inner workings of anti-immigrant hate groups are on full display.  Henry Fernandez, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP), has been tracking their work closely.

Anti-immigrant activism reflects an effort by leading anti-immigration organizations to block Obama from engaging in administrative relief.  They are not organic actions led by local community members.  Let’s be clear people who are involved in these are really bad actors.  For some time now, FAIR has been described as a hate group who is famous for saying children are bringing in diseases and crime, and others like Jim Gilchrist are currently reorganizing the Minutemen Project to go to the border and stop all immigration.  These tactics are being used by anti-immigration people to put pressure to stop administrative relief.  These are the people we are dealing with, I urge that no representatives to get involved. This is absolutely not an appropriate issue to play politics.

Concluded Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Republicans are on the verge of, once again, blocking much needed and long overdue legislation in an attempt to appease the extremists in their caucus.  This will not only demonstrate the GOP’s inability to govern responsibly but also leave the President as the only adult in the room, compelled to manage the both the kids at the border and the undocumented settled in America through executive action. The distinctions between both Parties could not be clearer.

Listen to a recording from today’s call HERE.

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.