For Immediate Release:
December 10, 2018
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
|WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks at the National Immigrant Integration Conference on immigration priorities of the House Democratic Majority in the 116th Congress. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Good afternoon. I’m excited to be here with CASA and this wonderful coalition of organizations working to protect America’s role as a refuge for those seeking freedom and opportunity.
“I want to thank my friend, Rep. Gutiérrez, for his leadership and his hard work. He may be retiring from Congress, but he will surely continue to be a leading voice in our national discussion over immigration policy and the rights and dignity of immigrants.
“There are few certainties in our politics these days. But one thing that is certain is that as Majority Leader in the next Congress, I will bring legislation to the Floor that addresses our immigration challenges.
“I will be working with my colleagues in the Tri-Caucus to move legislation that would provide DREAMers with the relief they deserve and a permanent pathway to citizenship. I will also work with them to advance legislation that will preserve Temporary Protected Status and allow its beneficiaries to remain in this country and not be sent back into harm’s way. Whether we bring up the DREAM Act or the American Promise Act of 2017, I will be working closely with the Committee Chairs, with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and with other Members to make sure we do it right and get immigration bills passed as early as possible.
“The Democratic-led House will finally act where the Republican Majority has failed to do its job. Our Majority will also take every possible action to stop the Trump Administration’s dangerous and inhumane policy of separating families and detaining children.
“The era of Donald Trump and his allies controlling all the levers of our government will soon be over. And Democrats are ready to fight back for the values and principles this nation has always represented.
“We won the Majority on a platform of holding this Administration accountable and working to grow opportunities for all Americans. Our incoming Committee Chairs are already gearing up to investigate what this Administration has been doing, including what’s happening at the border and in the detention facilities. Our Majority will pursue oversight rigorously, because the American people deserve to know what their government is doing in their name and whether their officials are upholding not only our laws but our values.
“In the new reality of divided government, it will be up to Senate Republicans and the President to decide whether to work with us on keeping DREAMers and TPS holders here or stand in the way of what’s right. I hope they choose to work with us. And I know all of you will be helping to remind them why they should.
“Your energy and activism will be critical in winning the public debate on this issue. Already, most Americans understand that it would be cruel to deport these young people who grew up here and have known no other home. Most Americans also understand that if we’ve opened our arms to those fleeing deadly violence or natural disasters, we shouldn’t suddenly close those arms and send these people back to face danger.
“Now, we need to make sure that there is clear and resounding public support for addressing the DACA and TPS crises. Particularly in the Senate, there needs to be pressure to act and not ignore what the House will produce.
“Meanwhile, we need to keep up the drumbeat on the issue of asylum. Our nation has laws on the books that protect the right of individuals to seek asylum at our borders. Those who do so are not breaking our laws – they are following our laws. And they deserve in full the due process and consideration of their claims in court – not tear gas or the forcible separation of parents and children; not indefinite detention; and not being used as pawns and scapegoats by a president trying to distract from an investigation into his actions.
“These migrants deserve better, and the American people deserve better from this Administration. And that’s what House Democrats are going to deliver. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to bring quick change.
“Over the past two years, we stood up to Donald Trump and his enablers and laid the groundwork for our House victory in November. Now, we begin the process of laying the groundwork for a victory two Novembers from now that can bring real and lasting change and set our country on a better course for the future. And we’re going to do it together.”