Same Anti-Immigrant Politics

February 4, 2015

Adela de la Torre, [email protected], 213-400-7822

New Session, New Leadership, Same Anti-Immigrant Politics

Senate and House hearings recycle “self-deportation” messaging and tactics and little else

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held its first immigration hearing of the 114th legislative session, using the time to denounce President Obama’s recent immigration initiatives designed to fix parts of the broken immigration system.

Across the Capitol, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration held a hearing to discuss the merits of E-Verify, an electronic employment eligibility verification system, and the Legal Workforce Act, which would force all employers to use E-Verify. This proposal, like others scheduled for House hearings next week, were introduced in previous legislative sessions.

Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center Immigrant Justice Fund.

“Today’s Senate hearing demonstrates that although we have a new legislative session, the Republican leadership’s immigration proposals are tired old repeats of the same anti-immigrant attacks we’ve all heard for several years. Each idea presented today was long on cheap political points and woefully short on substance. Senators in these hearings may have banked great sound bites designed to fire up the anti-immigrant crowd, but they won’t win the Republican Party the diverse set of supporters it will so desperately need for 2016.

“The House of Representatives, similarly, is committed to putting forward ‘solutions’ that would harm our economy and do nothing to fix our dysfunctional immigration system. By proposing the Legal Workforce Act, a measure that the Congressional Budget Office has projected would cost more than $30 billion, the House has shown that its commitment to attacking immigrants extends far beyond its interest in protecting our economic recovery, promoting job growth, or reducing governmental red tape.

“Instead of attacking hardworking immigrant families and small businesses, House and Senate leadership should be working to use President Obama’s first step toward fixing our long-broken immigration system to create a lasting, comprehensive solution. Unfortunately, today’s hearings lead us to believe that this legislative session will hold little promise of policy substance, and a guarantee of creative political theater, for the next two years.”

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