Democrats and Immigrant Rights Movement Call on Republicans to Work towards a Comprehensive Immigration Reform
(WASHINGTON)—The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing this afternoon on the President’s recent executive action announcement and its impact on millions of immigrants. Families from across the country came together to be present at the hearing to show support for the Senate Democrats who are pushing to keep and implement President Obama’s immigration action. Present at the hearing were Democratic Senators Mazie Hirono (HI), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Al Franken (MN), Dick Durbin (IL), Christopher Coons (DE), and Richard Blumenthal (CT).
Earlier in the afternoon, Sen. Hirono and deferred action beneficiaries held a press conference that highlighted stories of families impacted by the President’s executive action. Senators and families, along with supporters, called on Republicans to work towards real and comprehensive immigration reform, and to stray away from anti-immigrant rhetoric that poisons the conversation.
Sen. Hirono opened the hearing saying, “This is about real people, real families. It is about who we are as a country.”
Sens. Blumenthal, Coons, Durbin, Franken, and Klobuchar spoke in support of the President’s action. Sen. Blumenthal stated, “We are a nation of immigrants and we are stronger when we remain a nation that welcomes immigrants.” In a heated discussion, Sen. Durbin argued, “the President’s immigration action is a reasonable response to the House’s inability to act.”
Astrid Silva, leading organizer with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), testified during the hearing:
“Thanks to President Obama, my family and I will be able to sleep better at night because we won’t have to live with the fear of a knock on our door from immigration. I know that fear first hand, because my father was detained by immigration enforcement officers before, and it was the most traumatic experience of my life. I was afraid for many years that immigration would one day separate my family”
“The latest efforts by President Obama will keep my family together. It will keep millions of families together. But I have many friends whose parents will not qualify. I have many friends who do not have children and therefore don’t qualify. These are people that like my family are only making our country a better place, they volunteer in our communities, go to our churches and are my classmates. This is why this action is only the beginning. We must continue to work with Congress to pass a permanent legislative fix to our country’s broken immigration system so all mothers and fathers can be with their children.”
“The bi-partisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform package that the Senate passed in 2013 was certainly not perfect, but it would have been a fair—and permanent—fix to this problem. I, and many of my peers will continue the fight to pass a bill. But in the meantime, we will also fight to protect and defend the President’s action. When people attack the President for this action, they are attacking me. They are attacking my mother. They are attacking the hundreds of thousands of children who need their parents to care and nurture their development. They are attacking workers who are contributing their blood and sweat to this economy and have only contributed to our country. You are attacking me with every anti-immigrant word you say…you are attacking everything that has made our country strong,” Silva added.
Leaders and families from around the country joined Silva in supporting Senate Democrats that are fighting for a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system. Over 30 families and other individuals affected by the President’s immigration action were present at the press conference and hearing.