Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) responded to reports that Republicans will introduce legislation to remove deportation protections from the families of U.S. military service members and to make deportable “DREAMers” who have already passed criminal background checks. House Republicans are finalizing legislation to target the President’s executive actions on immigration announced on November 20, 2014, but GOP leaders in the House are apparently trying to nullify all executive actions taken by the President dating back to at least 2011. This would put in jeopardy the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, launched in 2012 for young people who arrived in the U.S. as children. It would also retroactively put the families of military service members back in line for deportation.
Rep. Gutiérrez said he expected an over-the-top reaction by House Republicans to what the President announced last year, but was surprised they are going so far to propose a mass deportation strategy for all undocumented immigrants.
“Only three words describe the Republican approach to immigrants: deportation, deportation, deportation,” said Rep. Gutiérrez. “The ‘deport them all’ contingent in the Republican Party has the pen and the gavel in the House. I know the Republicans will stop at nothing, but I didn’t think they would start with everything.”
Since DACA was announced in 2012, more than 610,000 young people raised in the U.S. have paid fees and gone through criminal background checks in order to be made the lowest priority for deportation. Each case has been individually reviewed and evaluated and now Republicans are attempting to make each one deportable.
“Republicans want to show their political base they are attacking President Obama, but a lot of innocent young immigrants are going to get caught in the crossfire if they succeed,” Rep. Gutiérrez said. “Republican leaders say even young people raised in this country who have already gone through criminal background checks must be stripped of deportation protection.”
In certain cases, the families of military servicemen and women have been granted “Parole in Place” by President Obama which allows them to stay in the country and apply for legal status if they qualify. Based on press reports on what the Republicans have proposed for a vote next week, even this limited protection for spouses and immediate family of active duty military will be targeted by Republican lawmakers.
“Republicans want to make a statement that they want to deport every single undocumented immigrant they can get their hands on,” Rep. Gutiérrez said. “They cannot put forward serious proposals that address the immigration issue because of the divisions in their own party, but they are united in opposing anything President Obama does, so if military families, DREAMers, or the entire budget of the Department of Homeland Security are put in harm’s way, that’s apparently OK with Republicans.”
Congressman Gutiérrez said he was confident that if the GOP’s deportation-only legislation passes in Congress it will never become law because of the President’s veto pen and sufficient votes to sustain a veto. The Illinois Congressman is traveling on Wednesday to Providence, Rhode Island to join Congressman David Cicilline and others for a public workshop preparing the community to sign-up for the President’s executive actions when applications are accepted later this year. It is the kick-off event of a national tour Rep. Gutiérrez has announced that will take him to more than a dozen states in the coming months (see: http://1.usa.gov/14apOPT).
“The Republicans know this will never become law, which makes it all the more cynical,” Rep. Gutiérrez said. “They are trying to cast doubt and trying to scare immigrants into not coming forward and not going through criminal background checks, so we need to get accurate information out to immigrant communities.”
Contributed by the office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democratic congressman from Illinois.
Published: Jan. 29, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 42