Democrats Introduce Comprehensive Bill

On 10/02/2013 the Democratic leadership in the House held a press conference to announce their introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill modeled after the successful bipartisan Senate bill, S.744. The legislation's original sponsors: Reps. Chu (CA), Polis (CO), Horsford (NV) and DelBene (WA), all spoke in support of the need for reform now.

12:08pm Democratic leaders take the stage to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill, these leaders include Democratic Conference Chair Becerra (CA), Minority Leader Pelosi (CA), Minority Whip Hoyer (MD), and Reps. Garcia (FL), Polis (CO), Crowley (NY), and Chu (CA), among others.

Rep. Becerra: Fixing the broken immigration system will help us fix this budget system, because as the Congressional Budget Office told us, Senate bill 744 will reduce the deficit by $135 billion over the next decade. We're ready to move, we believe we're going to have many, many supporters of this legislation. We want to prove to our Republican colleagues that we're ready to move, by presenting a piece of legislation that isn't just the Democrats dream come true, but that represents bipartisan compromise including components of the bipartisan Senate bill and the border security bill from the House Homeland Security Committee.

Minority Leader Pelosi: This isn't an issue, it's a value, it's an ethic, it's about who we are as a people. This bill is 100% bipartisan, we took the Senate bill, subtracted Corker-Hoeven, and added in the McCaul border security bill. We believe that every new comers to our country that brings dreams, aspirations, makes American more prosperous and rich.

Rep. Garcia: During the last year Americans from across the country sent a message loud and clear that we want immigration reform. That message was heard in the Senate, but has not yet been heard in the House. The only way immigration reform can pass is if Democrats and Republicans work together. We aren't introducing a perfect bill, we've taken out the very controversial Corker-Hoeven border surge amendment, that had many opponents in both parties and replaced it with the detailed bipartisan McCaul border security bill that passed unanimously out of the House Homeland Security Committee. Everyone from Regan to Bush championed immigration reform, and there is no reason we can't do it now.

Chu: I'm proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill, it is long overdue and the need is great. It's been three long decades since we've addressed our outdated immigration system that tears families apart. Asian Pacific Islanders make up more than 40% of those caught in the broken immigration system. The senate bill isn't perfect, for example, it phases out the sibling category in the family immigration system, but there are many benefits including clearing the backlogs within the next eight years. We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good, this bill include bipartisan measures that passed the senate.

Rep. Horsford: There is a broad and diverse coalition that understands how serious this is. In my district we have DREAMers that if we fail to act will have to continue to live in their shadows. Today, we ask our House Republicans: no more waiting. This is a legislative solution that has bipartisan support.

Rep. DelBene: We have a historic opportunity to help our economy, business and families. My district in Washington state is representative of why we need reform: we have an incredibly diverse economy, rich agriculture and technology (Nintendo, Microsoft and startups) these businesses have been making a strong case to Congress making the case for immigration reform. we can't settle for a piecemeal approach, our policy is too complex, if we tweak if one area it will inevitably have consequences elsewhere. We must help both our farmers and our farmworkers at the same time.

Rep. Polis: What a better issue to show we can come together in a bipartisan fashion to solve the biggest issue facing us as a country. This legislation not only unites families, but it makes America more competitive. The economic benefits are enormous, this bill would decrease the federal deficit by over $135 billion over the next decade, and over a trillion dollars in the next twenty years. Delaying consideration of immigration reform is no longer an option.

Rep. Becerra: What we're putting forward is a bill that has received Republican votes, we could have put forward a bill that would have gotten 200 Democrat votes, but we wanted to put a bill forward that showed we were serious about moving this forward. What we're saying, is on the Democratic side, we're ready. There is no reason to have dysfunction rule the day.

Rep. Crowley: We are more than prepared to move forward, let's move on to the nitty gritty tasks of getting this passed.

Rep. Pelosi: Democrats may vote for a bill that doesn't include a path to citizenship, but when it leaves the conference table as a comprehensive bill it must include a path to citizenship because that's the right thing for America.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 131002.