Ruppersberger Issues Statement on Immigration Bill, Family Separation
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger today issued the following statement after House majority leaders postponed a vote on a “consensus” immigration bill:
“There’s no question our immigration system is broken, but to achieve true comprehensive reform that both strengthens border security and creates a sensible legal immigration system, everyone needs a seat at the table. Both the ‘conservative’ bill that failed in the House of Representatives today as well as the ‘compromise’ bill that was pulled from consideration were non-starters because they reflect the extreme values held by only a fraction of the American people.
Neither bill provides a permanent solution for Dreamers – in fact, one bill disqualifies 82 percent of Dreamers who currently qualify for legal status under DACA. Neither bill addresses family separation at the border and both make it harder for migrants fleeing violence and poverty to claim asylum. Both bills include more than $25 billion for a vanity project known as ‘The Wall’ instead of investing in more efficient and cost-effective border security measures such as surveillance technology. And both bills make it harder for legal American citizens to reunify their families.
My focus over the past several weeks has been on family separation. The President’s Executive Order signed yesterday was a welcome acknowledgement that the American people do not stand behind the Administration’s zero-tolerance policy leading to the separation of more than 2,300 children from their parents at the southwest border. I remain concerned that the Executive Order does not indicate where or when these families will be reunified.
Likewise, the House bills end child separation for first-time offenders only and do not apply to families seeking asylum at ports of entry. They allow for families to be detained for an indefinite period of time and eliminate the safety and sanitary requirements – including access to toilets, clean water and medical care – currently in place for child detention.
Nobody gets everything they want in a compromise. I am prepared to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the coming days to draft a true consensus bill. Only then can our country begin to heal and move forward."