Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Immigration Bill Introduced in Congress

Latino and Democratic leaders have broken the stalemate in the House and introduced an immigration bill with a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans! 

We have a long, tough fight ahead and the bill is far from perfect -- but if it passes, it would:

• Provide a path to citizenship for a vast majority of the 11 million
• Removes the "border surge" found in the Senate bill
• Reunite many families separated by deportation
• Protect immigrant workers
• Force DHS to focus on results rather than just continuing to expand immigration enforcement 
• Allow nearly 11 million immigrants to work, travel and live without fear of deportation (including some 
   with final removal orders)
• Grant a 5 year path to citizenship for Dreamers and farm workers
• Provides immigration status and affordable housing to victims of domestic abuse
• Prohibit ICE from conducting raids/arrests outside schools, churches, hospitals and other “sensitive 

A majority of lawmakers in the House have already said they would support a pathway to citizenship. If we want to see action on reform this year, we need as many members of Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – to put their words into action and to co-sponsor this new immigration bill in the House.

For us, this fight is personal. The cost of inaction on immigration affects our friends, family, and community. Since the Senate passed their immigration bill, over 100,000 aspiring Americans have been deported, and that number grows every single day.

We will not stop until we achieve a permanent solution that grants dignity and respect to all immigrant workers and families, and that means a chance for 11 million aspiring Americans to earn citizenship in the country they call home.

The Senate passed their immigration bill months ago in June. Now it’s time for the House to act and do the same!

Thanks for your support,

Gabe Ortiz
America’s Voice

NOTE: The House plan would eliminate a $46 billion border security plan added to the Senate bill to appease Republicans concerned about future waves of illegal immigration. In its place, the bill adds a proposal by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a border security strategy that will ensure 100% of the border is monitored and agents are stopping 90% of people trying to cross it.

Supporters of the bill said they could have filed a purely Democratic bill, but they included portions of the Senate bill and McCaul's border security bill, which was approved unanimously by the House Homeland Security Committee, to show how serious they are about reaching a bipartisan agreement in the House.

"We put a bill that got Marco Rubio to vote on and got Bob Menendez to vote on," said Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., referring to the Republican senator from Florida and the Democratic senator from New Jersey who co-sponsored the Senate immigration bill. "Those are two very extreme political positions, and yet both of them voted on it."

The House has been following a "piecemeal" approach to an immigration plan, considering smaller bills that affect different parts of the country's immigration laws. Along with McCaul's border security plan, the House has advanced bills that would add visas for high-tech workers and low-skilled workers and would expand a program to allow business owners to check the immigration status of new hires.

No House members have filed a bill to deal with the question of how to handle the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants. House Republican leaders plan to continue with their bill-by-bill approach instead of an all-encompassing bill like the one passed by the Senate.

There are less than 8 weeks to pass the bill in the House before December 31, 2013.

The Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) released the following statement today on the introduction of a bipartisan immigration bill in the House: 

Chairman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15): "The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. We are committed to doing so in a bipartisan matter. We have waited for three months for the Speaker to come forward with a plan on immigration reform. He has not, in order to jump start this process worked with Democratic leadership to provide a bill which we believe is a strong consensus piece of legislation consisting of the bipartisan Senate Judiciary Immigration bill and the McCall Thompson Border bill.

We believe that the introduction of this legislation is the beginning of a process which will end with the House of Representatives passing immigration legislation which will make our economy stronger and our nation better. We welcome Republican support of this important bill and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future on this issue that is so important for all Americans."

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