As a Democrat from Illinois, as a member of Congress who believes in and admires President Obama, it genuinely pains me to say that the facts show that this president has done no more to solve our immigration crisis than George W. Bush.
Ending the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program was a serious mistake that will harm the United States and will spark a national political crisis.
Mr. Speaker, our Nation depends on immigrants' labor, and I hope we can create an immigration system as dependable as they are.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been clear that deporting young people who have lived in the U.S. for years and were brought here through no fault of their own as children should not be the targets of deportation.
In my experience, young people fighting for the passage of the DREAM Act and to prevent the deportation of those who are eligible are among the most committed and fearless advocates for change in this country.
The pro-life, pro-family Republicans are now pro-neonatal detention and deportation. It isn't enough to drive out the people not born here; now they want to drive out the ones that were.
Are we going to go out and arrest and detain and deport 11 million people? Nobody would argue that that is what we are going to do, because we have never demonstrated the political will to do that, nor have we ever committed the requisite resources to do that.
We watched the U.S. citizenship immigration services web site in March. They had six million, two hundred thousand hits, and two million people downloaded applications for citizenship. So what we're doing is attempting to help people in that process.
If immigration reform is bad for America's workers, then why does virtually every group that represents American workers support it so enthusiastically?
The underlying part of any comprehensive immigration bill is family unit.
We need legal immigration as an alternative to illegal immigration and a way of getting the millions of unauthorized immigrants already here to get legal and get in compliance with our laws.
We need to decouple the movement for comprehensive immigration reform and justice for immigrants from the legislative process and from the Democratic Party process. They are too linked.
It is not new or unusual for the real Americans, meaning those immigrants who came to America a little bit longer ago, to fear the outsiders, the pretenders, the newcomers.
We must stand on principle and practicality, and we should be very clear that a policy aimed at driving out 10 or 11 million people is not a good one.
Let me respond with a few points, the first being that all immigrants pay taxes, income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, every tax when they make a purchase.
Mr. Speaker, Americans want, need, and rightfully expect Congress to protect them from the prying eyes of identity thieves and give them back control of their Social Security numbers and personal health information.
If you are opposed to immigration or support strictly punitive immigration measures, you cannot even start a conversation about other issues with most Latino voters.
We should be clear that we prefer a system that allows people to come to the U.S. with visas, not in the hands of smugglers.
And let us not forget the Social Security system. Recent studies show that undocumented workers sustain the Social Security system with a subsidy as much as $7 billion a year. Let me repeat that: $7 billion a year.
I am a strong supporter of President Obama and was the first national Hispanic elected official to endorse him, and I want him to be reelected in 2012.