The United States is a country built on the contributions of immigrants and their families seeking the American Dream. As an immigrant myself, I have had the privilege to experience this first hand and witness just how much immigrants enrich our society.
Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have strongly supported comprehensive immigration reform as the solution to fixing our Nation’s broken immigration system. Congress must come together to pass legislation that addresses the issue in a fair and compassionate way while acknowledging the causes of illegal immigration into country, such as the widespread violence in Central America, and work with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere to find solutions.
Since the beginning of his campaign the President has used hateful rhetoric to target immigrants. As President, this has continued in numerous executive actions, including limiting visitation from specific countries, pausing the acceptance of refugees, and terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. I am extremely disappointed that the President has turned his back on the foundation of our country as a nation of immigrants and seeks to build walls between communities. Divisive language and policies will only aggravate the problems facing our immigration system while weakening our economy and national security.
I am extremely opposed to all of these actions and have cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation in an attempt to counter the President’s attempts to divide us. Among these pieces of legislation is the bipartisan H.R. 3440, the DREAM Act, introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). This extremely popular piece of legislation would enable millions of undocumented young people, who came here as children and know no other home, to enter a pathway to citizenship. This pathway would be open to law-abiding DREAMers who meet a series of qualifications and would take approximately 8-13 years. H.R. 3440 has widespread bipartisan support and I am disappointed that Speaker Ryan has ignored requests to hold a vote on it.
Congress can no longer ignore the problems in our immigration system that harm those who are seeking a better life free of poverty, war, and violence. We must come together to craft reform that will resolve the flaws in our current system to create one that will treat all people equally, humanely, and compassionately.
More on Immigration
This week, I signed onto legislation to allow tax credits to rollover for childcare costs and signed onto a bill to keep students safe in schools. I also signed onto to letters to urge the President to have the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) set up drive through COVID-19 testing in New Jersey, include pro-worker and pro-labor provisions in the Fiscal Year 2021(FY21) appropriations package, and demand answers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the detention of unaccompanied minors.
Last week, I joined the Congressional Labor Caucus, and cosponsored legislation to raise the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) monthly benefits, help ensure children do not go hungry during the pandemic, raise the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2021, help students refinance their student loans, and ensure humane treatment of animals in any research and testing.
This week, I joined the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey to discuss affordable housing in the 8th District. I introduced legislation to support our economic partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and cosponsored legislation to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to schools, get surplus computers to our nation’s veterans and students, and reaffirm our commitment to marriage equality.
Last week, I signed onto legislation to crack down on wildlife markets, which are harmful to animals and can contribute to the outbreak of pandemics. I also signed onto legislation to increase the standard of care at nursing homes, help communities transition to clean power grids, and protect press freedom. I also led a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging them to issue an emergency rule on face masks for air travel.
Last week, I signed onto legislation to make it easier for men to get screened for prostate cancer, introduced a resolution to protect supply chains in the Western Hemisphere and Sub-Saharan Africa, and signed onto a resolution to designate National Wildlife Refuge Week.
This week, the House was in session in Washington, D.C. to extend funding of the federal government. The House also voted on legislation to protect benefits for veterans, condemn the forced labor of Uyghurs in China, and reinvigorate our economy with more clean jobs and innovation. I attended hearings focused on Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, and the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
Last week, the country mourned the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away Friday evening. Her groundbreaking leadership on the court, coupled with her fierce dedication to advancing women’s rights and striving for equality for all will leave a positive mark on this country for generations to come. The House was also back in session and I was in Washington, D.C. to vote on important legislation to reauthorize and improve small business programs.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) released the following statement after news reports indicated that at least 17 women held in the custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the for-profit Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia were subjected to unnecessary medical procedures, including sterilization, without their knowledge or consent over a period of several years. The reports followed a whistleblower complaint made by a medical professional who had worked at the facility.
This week, I signed onto legislation to stop harmful image exploitation and distribution of non-consenting individuals. I also signed onto letters to oppose harmful environmental law erosions proposed by the Administration, support the inclusion of protections against harmful pesticides in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and to demand accountability for vehicle inspections across the country.
Last week, I signed onto legislation to help support small independent restaurants impacted by COVID-19. I also signed onto letters asking the Census Bureau for an explanation on why they would end data collection early, opposing the President’s order for the federal government to not cover the cost of National Guard stationed in states, and to include immigrants in any future COVID-19 relief legislation.