Folly of the Senate Immigration Reform Bill Becomes Clear In House Bill

Border Communities Welcome House Democrat Action on Immigration Reform and the Rejection of Corker/Hoeven Militarization Agenda

For Immediate Release: October 2nd, 2013

Today’s introduction of an immigration reform bill by House Democrats highlights that immigration reform does not have to further sacrifice border communities.

The bill contains a bi-partisan approach to border enforcement which we might not agree in some provisions such as fencing and triggers, but clearly does not represent the Senate’s wasteful, unnecessary and harmful militarization of the border represented by the Corker/Hoeven provision.
“This bill represents a step back in the narrative around border enforcement,” said Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights. “We have to recognize that Congressional Border Caucus Members led by Representatives O’Rourke (TX-16), Vela (TX-34) and Grijalva (AZ-3), bolstered by actions of border communities, set the stage for House Democrats rejecting an ill-advised border surge.”

In June, just after the immigration bill passed the Senate chamber, BNHR led efforts to push back on the dangerous ‘border surge.’ Texas and Southern New Mexico communities in Dallas, Austin, El Paso, Texas Valley and Las Cruces initiated a series of civil disobedience events leading to the arrest of protesters who recognized that the Senate immigration bill no longer represented border community’s vision of reform. BNHR, along with multiple partners around the country, organized a national day of action where 17 cities across the country protested the militarization of American communities as a response to a social issue such as immigration.

BNHR welcomes the intention of today’s proposal to reform the immigration system without border militarization but also cautions that the border security triggers are an onerous road block on the path to citizenship and reminds the public that the benefits of an immigration reform can only be achieved when immigrant workers come out of the shadows. “The Senate immigration bill’s path to citizenship is already exclusive of many millions of hard working families and for the House to add more hurdles is contrary to America’s needs,” says Garcia.

With the inclusion of the Independent DHS Border Oversight Task Force provision border communities and advocates hope that this piece of legislations will embrace a sensible and functional policy that brings about clear mechanisms for accountability, oversight and enhance humane and constitutional standards to border and immigration enforcement.

Gabriela Castañeda

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