Immigration Policies Past and Future Collide in Lame Duck Congress
Phoenix, AZ – Yesterday, Arizona’s retiring Senator Jon Kyl joined fellow outgoing Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to introduce the ACHIEVE Act, with Senator McCain as co-sponsor. Today, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will present its principles for comprehensive immigration reform. On Friday, it is expected that the House of Representatives will bring the STEM bill back up for a vote. The STEM bill that would eliminate diversity visas in lieu of high-skilled workers visas failed to pass last September. The following is a statement by Petra Falcon, Executive Director of Promise Arizona in Action:
“It seems the Republican politicians in Washington got a wake-up call when more than 7 out of ten Latino voters chose Obama over Romney. Latinos voters are paying attention, and our votes matter.
Retiring Senators Kyl and Hutchison should be commended for at least engaging in the conversation on immigration now, even if it may be too little, too late. If they had had the courage to support the DREAM Act instead of voting against it in partisan lockstep during the previous lame duck session, the Republican Party may have been looking forward to a majority in the Senate and a Republican in the White House during this lame duck session. The leaders of the Republican Party, who should have known better, chose instead to embrace SB1070, and drove Latino voters away from the Party.
Friday will bring another opportunity for Republicans to show they are serious in wanting to win back Latino voters. If the GOP House leadership doesn’t amend the STEM bill to protect the diversity visas, the vote in the House will display symbolically for the whole country to see, that the Republican Party continues to disdain diversity.
The moment is clear - Members of Congress in both parties have the opportunity over the next several months to pass real comprehensive immigration reform that the country desperately needs. Instead of trying to carve out special allocations for specific interests, Congress needs instead to address all the interrelated issues in a balanced way.
The Republican leaders who are enlightened about the need to pass immigration reform cannot have it both ways – achieving meaningful immigration reform is incompatible with appeasing the angry mob. These Republican legislators must to do what is in the best interest of the country and of their Party, and pass real reform. They must learn to accept the fact that the nativist members of their base will continue to reject any legalization of undocumented families, and learn to live with those consequences, because there is no real alternative for their Party to remain nationally viable in the long run.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is announcing its principles for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington today. Both Parties need to look at these principles as a starting point for a meaningful bipartisanship effort, because these principles will likely best reflect the definition of immigration reform that Latino voters demand.”
Promise Arizona in Action is dedicated to expanding civic participation in Arizona, particularly among Latinos and youth. Promise Arizona in Action is an organization driven by values. We value civic participation, community engagement and leadership development, particularly among the growing youth and Latino population in the state.