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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Sen. Durbin, DREAMer, Legal Expert Talk Legislative and Judicial Landscape on Immigration                            

Listen to a recording of today’s call here.

On this week’s Office Hours press call, longtime immigration reform champion Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) was joined by DACA recipient Karen Villagomez and Marshall Fitz, Vice President of Immigration Policy for the Center for American Progress.  Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, moderated the call.  

According to Senator Durbin:

The bill the House passed this month is the height of unfairness and hypocrisy.  First, Congressional Republicans obstructed immigration reform legislation.  And now they are obstructing President Obama’s efforts to use his legal authority to fix our broken immigration system.  Thousands of DACA recipients are already giving back to our country – working as engineers, small business owners, and public school teachers.  But the Republicans in the House of Representatives want to end DACA and have these young people deported from the only country they have ever called home.  The government should not use its limited resources to deport immigrants who have lived and worked here for years, who have children who are American citizens or lawful permanent residents, and who don’t pose a threat to our safety.

Every day this week, Senator Durbin took to the Senate floor to highlight the success stories of DACA recipients and explain how the program is changing millions of lives.  As Karen Villagomez, one of the DACA recipients profiled by the Senator, said on today’s call:

DACA represents the values and heritage of this country of immigrants;  it was the right thing to do and it has changed my life- by replacing fear with hope. It makes no sense to repel DACA and destroy the future of a group of talented and willing people who are making extraordinary contributions to this country.

Meanwhile, as the DHS funding debate continues on Capitol Hill, Federal Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, TX is considering whether to block implementation of the President’s immigration action on immigration.  Marshall Fitz of the Center for American Progress spelled out the potential outcomes of a court decision and explained what this means for the implementation process going forward:

Next week, we anticipate a preliminary ruling in the case and we expect Judge Hanen to rule in favor of the plaintiffs.  We hope to be proven wrong, but the states specifically sought out this judge based on the belief that he would be hostile to executive action.  So while we hold out hope that legal reasoning will prevail over the judge’s personal bias, no one will be surprised by a preliminary ruling for the plaintiffs. The critical point is that this is the beginning, not the end. It is just one ruling by one ideologically predisposed judge, who will not be the final arbiter of the legality of President’s actions.  We remain extremely confident that at the end of this legal process these actions will be held constitutional and will go into full effect as planned.

For more on the lawsuit check out America’s Voice Education Fund’s report: “A Coordinated Attack: Judge Hanen and the Nativist Lawsuit Against DAPA and DACA.”

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

We remain optimistic that sooner or later the President’s policies will go into effect.  In Congress, Republicans don’t have the votes to stop the immigration policy changes, and in the courts, they don’t have the law on their side.  What’s predictable, then, is that Republican attempts to block executive action will fail and their only success will be in deepening their reputation as a party hostile to immigrants.”

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


Listen to a recording of today’s call here.

America’s Voice Education Fund: A Coordinated Attack: Judge Hanen and the Nativist Lawsuit Against DAPA and DACA