Editor’s Note: Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) issued a statement on the October 24th, markup of two bills related to immigration in the Judiciary Committee. One is an agricultural worker bill introduced by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the other is a mandatory E-Verify bill introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). Rep. Gutiérrez opposes both bills, which are retreads of bills that have been marked up and passed by the House Judiciary Committee on previous occasions.
This markup demonstrates to me once again that the opponents of legal immigration are running the show on the Republicans side of the aisle. There is nothing of substance moving forward to solve the crisis Trump and Sessions created by ending DACA. We are getting nothing that moves us closer to passing the DREAM Act or putting DACA recipients in a safe place and instead we are getting the same old recycled bills from the anti-immigration lobby’s wish list.
It appears that the agenda of Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte, Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Labrador and other Republican Judiciary Members is to make it clear they have no real intention of doing anything to secure the futures of DREAMers in the U.S.
As I have shown in bills I have introduced in previous years, Democrats support E-Verify if it is coupled with legal status for immigrants who are already here and with legal channels for immigrants coming in the future. Otherwise, we are just throwing people out of work and driving them underground, when our goal should be to get immigrants and immigration within the law, on-the-books, and above board.
The Agricultural Worker Program Act (H.R. 2690) that I introduced in May is a better approach to the need for workers in the agricultural sector, for stabilizing our food supply and for protecting native and immigrant workers alike. There is broad consensus on how to move forward, but most Republicans are apparently no longer interested in legislation that has broad consensus, favoring instead the Steve Bannon red meat approach for consumption by Republican primary voters next year.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.