Immigration: In Depth
Our nation’s immigration system is in clear need of improvement. Millions of people are living in the United States without status. The difficult issues created by this situation are reflected daily on our streets our schools, hospitals and homes.
The only viable solution is a comprehensive approach that embodies both Democratic and Republican priorities. We need a plan that secures our borders, increases visa allotments for high-skilled immigrants, families, and refugees, and provides a path to citizenship for those already here without status in order to ensure that everyone pays their full and fair share of taxes. This money can go towards improving our schools, investing in infrastructure projects that create jobs, and extending the solvency of Medicare.
In 2013, the Senate passed an immigration reform compromise that embodied these core principles with the support of 14 Republicans and every Democrat. I was proud to co-sponsor the House version of this bill, and I remain deeply disappointed that House Republican leadership refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
Trump Administration Executive Actions
Just one week into office, President Trump signed executive orders regarding immigration, border security, and sanctuary cities. If he were actually serious about the safety of our citizens, he would work with Congress to create a well thought-out and comprehensive plan to increase the security of our nation.
Instead, Trump continues to push extreme ideas such as a border wall that won’t provide more security, extreme enforcement that will likely lead to raids in our cities and families being torn apart at the border, and policies that will return people back to dangerous countries with no protection.
These actions undermine our leadership and values around the globe, leading to a less secure world and a less secure America.
Deferred Action Programs
I am a strong supporter of the executive actions issued by President Obama that protect certain classes of people living in the United States without status who abide by the law. Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – DACA – has allowed nearly 750,000 people who were brought to the U.S. as children to stay and earn a living legally. Similarly, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans – DAPA – was intended to provide the same protection for parents of American citizens who are living in the U.S. without status..
Not only has the administration ended the DAPA program, but, against the advice of American business leaders, Republican leadership, the opinions of the American public, and the crystal clear calls of conscience, President Trump also ended the DACA program. This will do damage to hundreds of thousands of young lives and to our economy.
Congress and its Republican leadership must act to right this wrong or give up any claim to moral standing or economic wisdom.