Immigration

Republican’s Latest Immigration Debacle


What should be clear by now is that immigrant communities remain the most vulnerable group in Trump’s America. From day one, the Trump Administration has systematically targeted immigrants and their families, aiming to jail or deport as many as possible. From enabling ICE to terrorize immigrants and their family to making it harder for people to claim asylum at the border and now ripping babies away from their parents and detaining them, Trump is fulfilling the promises he made during his campaign and Congressional Republicans are enabling him.

But that’s not enough for them. Trump wants to dramatically change our immigration system to limit family unification and prevent black and brown people from coming to the U.S., all while holding DACA recipients hostage — and Congressional Republicans are more than happy to oblige him. Here’s how.

The House is set to Vote on Two Anti-Immigrant Bills

Speaker Ryan announced this week that the House will vote on two immigration proposals the week of June 18, both of which have been backed by the Trump White House: the “Goodlatte bill” and one negotiated by Paul Ryan and the White House (“White House 2.0”). Neither of these bills would provide real relief for Dreamers, nor would they end the White House’s family separation policy. What they would do is fund Trump’s wall and turbocharge Trump’s deportation machine. Let’s break them down.

Securing America’s Future Act (also known as “Goodlatte-McCaul”)

Originally introduced in January, the Goodlatte McCaul immigration bill is a radical restructuring of our immigration system, was authored by some of the most anti-immigrant members of the House: Reps. Goodlatte (VA-06), McSally (AZ-02), Labrador (ID-01), and Sensenbrenner (WI-05), and has been relentlessly pushed by the ultra-right wing House Freedom Caucus. Simply put, SAF is a xenophobe’s wishlist:

  • Eliminates the diversity visa program
  • Eliminates all family-sponsored green cards except for the spouses and minor children of citizens
  • Appropriates $24.8 billion dollars towards border security, including wall construction and more border patrol and customs agents
  • Allows the Department of Justice to withhold federal funds for sanctuary cities
  • Restricts access to asylum

Tacked onto this laundry list of immigration restriction are meager protections for Dreamers: People who were previously covered by DACA would have access to a renewable multi-year long lawful status with travel and work authorization. No pathway to citizenship. They will remain second class Americans in perpetuity. It’s unacceptable.

Ryan Proposal

Paul Ryan and Republican leadership have negotiated an alternative to Goodlatte,  and are hawking this proposal as a compromise between moderate Republicans and the Freedom Caucus. However, it’s far from a compromise: it’s merely a rehash of Trump’s immigration priorities that aim to radically reduce the number of brown and black immigrants to this country and increase the deportation of brown and black immigrants here. While it does offer a pathway to citizenship to DACA recipients, the process involves a convoluted points system that may take as long as 20 years. There is no guarantee that DACA-eligible immigrants will ever obtain status through this proposal, and yet it comes at a high price:

  • Eliminates  the diversity visa program
  • Eliminates family-sponsored green cards for siblings and married adult children
  • Appropriates $23 billion dollars  towards border security, including wall construction and up to 50,000 more immigration agents
  • Restricts access to asylum

Sound familiar? It’s the same anti-immigrant provisions as the Goodlatte bill. Not much of a compromise.

Neither Bill Undoes Trump’s Family Separation Policy

Republicans are misleading the American public by saying that the Paul Ryan proposal combats family separation and the unaccompanied minor crisis. This is a lie. The bill does nothing to prevent children from being separated from their families. The bill leaves Trump’s zero-tolerance policy in place, which is the reason why children are being ripped from their parents at the border. In addition, the bill would further criminalize parents and make it easier to deport them, even without their children. This bill would also make it easier to deport unaccompanied minors back to the countries.

Bottom Line

Both of these bills hold Dreamers hostage in exchange for radical reductions in the number of brown and black immigrants entering this country and massive spending on the border wall. Republicans- be they moderate, members of the Freedom Caucus, or in leadership- are using Dreamers as a political ploy while they advance the Trump administration’s racist agenda. It is despicable and it cannot pass.

What Can You Do?

At the end of the day, Dreamers’ best chance at a clean pathway to citizenship with no harm is with a Congress where Republican enablers are voted out and progressives who will stand up for them voted in. That said, members of the House need to hear from you that these proposals are unacceptable, be they Democrat or Republican. We’re including a call script below, with different asks based on who your member is. Republican leadership will be whipping their members hard, particularly on  this second proposal so Members need to hear from you.

Call Your Members of Congress Now!

CALL SCRIPT

If your member is a Democrat

Caller: Hi! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling today to tell [Rep] to vote NO on both the Goodlatte bill and the Paul Ryan proposal. These bills are taking Dreamers hostage in exchange for dramatic spending on the wall and racist changes to our immigration system that prevent people from reuniting with their family members abroad. If [insert name here] supports immigrants, they will vote no.

Staffer: Thanks for calling. [Rep] is troubled by the provisions in this bill, particularly the cuts to family immigration and border wall spending and intends to vote no.

Caller: I deeply appreciate that. Congress should not be voting on a bill that causes serious harm to immigrants in exchange for protections for Dreamers. Please tell [insert name here] that I appreciate their vote against these bills and their continued support for a clean Dream Act.

Staffer: I’ll pass along your thoughts to [Rep].

Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what [Rep] decides to do.

If your member is a Republican

Caller: Hi! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling today to tell [Rep] to vote NO on both the Goodlatte bill and the Paul Ryan proposal. These bills are taking Dreamers hostage in exchange for dramatic spending on the wall and racist changes to our immigration system that prevent people from reuniting with their family members abroad. If [insert name here] supports immigrants, they will vote no.

Staffer: Thanks for calling. [Rep] wants to protect Dreamers, but [she / he] thinks it is important that we fix our broken immigration system and ensure that people are respecting and obeying our immigration laws. These bill will also end family separation at the border while also allowing the best and brightest to come and contribute our economy.

Caller: That is not true. Neither of these bills would stop family separations at the border. They would only make it worse and make it easier to deport parents and keep them from their kids. Dreamers cannot be a bargaining chip for Trump’s racist policies and border wall. If you care about Dreamers and immigrants, you must vote no on both of these proposals.  

Staffer: I’ll pass along your thoughts to [Rep].

Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what [Rep] decides to do.