Experts Wrap Busy Immigration Week with Lessons for Political and Policy Debate Moving Forward

Experts Wrap Busy Immigration Week with Lessons for Political and Policy Debate Moving Forward

By America’s Voice | February 9, 2024

Washington, DC —On a press call held today, leaders from immigration and Latino-focused organizations joined with the Congressional Integrity Project to assess the details and implications of a busy week on immigration policy and politics – including what the right lessons are from the failed impeachment vote of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and from the ongoing legislative dysfunction on display in the U.S. Senate.

Greg Chen, Senior Director of Government Relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), said: “The GOP’s outright rejection of the Senate bipartisan deal presents an opportunity for Biden to put forth a vision and solutions to the immigration system. It is imperative that he do this given the political impasse on immigration that has locked up Congress.  Regrettably, any legislative path forward in the short term has been stymied by Republicans who rejected this bill that was heavily weighted toward border security and enforcement.  The country urgently needs solutions that ensure a fair, orderly and efficient process at the US border and also ensure the immigration system advances the country’s prosperity with expanded legal pathways that meet the needs of families and businesses.”

Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), said: “This past week’s ongoing budget negotiations demonstrated just how far the GOP is willing to go to hold the country hostage to push forward Trump’s extremist, anti-immigrant agenda. It is clear that immigration is simply a political issue for Republicans since they are refusing to advance any real immigration reform. Instead of focusing on inhumane and ineffective border policies, Washington must prioritize aid to localities, including New York, and invest in humane solutions to alleviate border pressure. It is long overdue that our elected leader put aside the political gamesmanship and move forward with an agenda that upholds the humanitarian values of the country to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”

Hannah Muldavin, Senior Communications Advisor for the Congressional Integrity Project, said: “The unconstitutional, baseless impeachment attempt of DHS Secretary Mayorkas by MAGA Republicans this week failed in a bipartisan fashion because it was a political stunt, based on politics instead of facts and evidence. MAGA Republicans continue to waste time on this baseless impeachment, putting the demands of Donald Trump ahead of the American people and any real effort to try to solve the situation at the border.”

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Vice President of the Latino Vote Initiative at UnidosUS, said: “What this debate made crystal clear is that if the issue of the immigration, of the border, continues to be driven by extremists inside and outside of Congress, we will not have the solutions the vast majority of Americans want to see. Latinos and their fellow Americans have long supported balanced solutions that couple smart enforcement with legal immigration and relief for immigrants already here. A modern immigration system, with a secure and humane border, is possible and our economic prosperity demands it. We call on elected leaders to denounce toxic rhetoric, to deliver real solutions and on Congress to fund them.”

And Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice and the moderator of the call, said: “Republicans are not interested in solving problems or working towards solutions. Their obstruction and politicization of the issue not only prevents us from fixing our outdated immigration system – which is completely broken and unable to deal with the realities of 21st-century migration, it also stokes fears and inflames conspiracies that put our public safety at risk including by mainstreaming the dangerous talk of ‘invasion’ and ‘great replacement’ theory.  Just last week, the FBI arrested a man headed to the border with weapons who was motivated by fighting the so-called “invasion”. Republicans clearly have not learned the lessons from El Paso, Buffalo or Pittsburgh.”

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