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Senate Dems Should Insist that Immigration Reform Be Part of Any Conference Committee with House

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House GOP Made Child Refugee Debate an Immigration Debate – So Senate Should Insist on CIR as Part of Any Conference on House Plan

With House Republicans today introducing a new deportation-focused proposal for dealing with Central American refugee kids and continuing to mistakenly blame DACA for the rise in refugees, Senate Democrats should use a potential conference committee to push for broader immigration reform, America’s Voice said today.  This is in keeping with press reports and statements by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that comprehensive immigration reform may be in play given Republican proposals to change immigration policy.

The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

The House Republicans’ plan amounts to this: ‘deport these kids, and quickly.’  It seeks to expedite deportations and guts existing protections in a way that deprives children fleeing violence a full and fair hearing.  Our country is better than cursory interviews by border patrol agents followed by shotgun proceedings followed by deporting kids right back to the violent conditions they escaped.

Meanwhile, many Republicans want to go further.  Not content to ensure the speedy deportation of child refugees, many want to do away with DACA and subject DREAMers to deportation – as if a program for youth who arrived in the U.S before June 2007 is the reason kids from three of the most violent countries in the world are seeking safety in the U.S in 2014.  Will Speaker Boehner let his raucous caucus vote to end DACA?  We’ll find out on Thursday.  After all, let us not forget that after a year of blocking the best chance we’ve had in a generation to pass landmark immigration reform legislation, the only immigration-related votes the Speaker has allowed have been on measures to repeal DACA and subject DREAMers to deportation.

So, now House and Senate Republicans want to change immigration policy.  Well, so do House and Senate Democrats.  Now that it looks as if before the end of this Congress both chambers and both parties are going to have to negotiate a final package of some sort, Democrats would be well within their rights to insist that comprehensive immigration reform be on the table.

So, here’s to you, House Republicans.  You are finally moving toward immigration policy reforms.  They are not the changes we want, but you are providing a vehicle for the changes we do want.  Thank you for opening the door to comprehensive immigration reform this year.