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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Legal Expert, Legislative Analyst & DREAM Leader Discuss Next Steps Forward in TX Lawsuit and DHS Debate in Congress 

To listen to a recording of today’s call, click here.

Between the legal battle in the courtroom and the ongoing Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  funding fight in Congress, developments in the immigration debate are moving quickly and on multiple fronts.  How this will all impact DACA/DAPA implementation, what to expect in the House and Senate next week, and what this all means for the political future of both parties heading into 2016?  These were the topics of this week’s Office Hours call.

Alvaro Huerta, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), responded to Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling on the Texas lawsuit and provided a preview of the legal landscape ahead, saying:

This week’s ruling was a disappointment, but not a surprise. Immigrants waiting to submit their applications should remember that this week’s news is a bump in the road, not a dead end. The Department of Justice has vowed to appeal this decision, and we are confident that, upon appeal, eligible immigrants will be able to come forward to apply for the opportunity to contribute more fully to their communities.

Astrid Silva, a Dreamer and Immigration Organizer for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, has been relentless in her efforts to confront Republicans in Nevada over the lawsuit, including her own state’s Attorney General Adam Laxalt who is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week.  As she said on today’s call:

Here in Nevada, we know our Attorney General is proud to be the only Attorney General testifying against this action that would benefit so many families in his state. Frankly, it’s an embarrassment that our own Attorney General is even on this lawsuit. We know that people here in Nevada want to see DACA and DAPA fully implemented and that they’re prepared keep fighting for it.  Laxalt may say that his opposition to executive action is about the President, but all we hear is hostility towards my parents, my friend’s parents and the millions of others who’d qualify for the new DACA and DAPA programs.

Silva also confronted Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) during a Las Vegas stop on his book tour this week. Said Silva about the interaction:

When Senator Rubio says he supports defunding all the President’s executive actions, including the 2012 DACA program that I currently benefit from, that’s a direct attack on my future and my ability to keep working at the place that I love.  If Rubio’s serious about running for President, we need to keep confronting him on his support for policies that would get my parents and millions of others deported.

Next week, the House and Senate are set to continue debate on DHS funding, which will expire at midnight on February 27thabsent any legislative action.  But with the Senate scheduled to hold yet another doomed vote on the House passed bill and with the GOP still divided over strategy, much is left unknown about how Republicans will find a path forward to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Said Lia Parada, Deputy Campaign Director for Legislation and Policy at  the Alliance for Citizenship,

Senate Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are what’s wrong with politics in Washington. They’re the ones holding up funding for the Department of Homeland Security – putting both our national security and the lives of 5 million immigrant families at risk. And what for? Take another jab at President Obama and to score political points with their anti-immigrant base. We’re not going to allow them to get away with their self-serving leadership. We know who’s to blame if the Republicans shut down Homeland Security. Americans want to know that they’re safe from terrorism, they want a solution to our broken immigration system, and they want our elected leaders to lead–not partake in petty political fights that they can’t win.

To listen to a recording of today’s call, click here.