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May 23, 2024

NHCSL Responds to Border Security and Immigration Bill Voted by the US Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. Following today’s vote in the Senate vote of the reintroduced Border Security and Combatting Fentanyl Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024, a long-negotiated bipartisan bill, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) released the following statement:

We stand by our assessment of the bill when it was first introduced back in February. We still believe it’s better than what has been introduced and discussed in the U.S. House of Representatives, and we welcome some of its provisions, but it keeps falling short of what the American people still await: comprehensive immigration reform, with a pathway to citizenship for dreamers and essential workers, that would facilitate legal migration. And we welcome Leader Schumer’s announcement today that he will make Comprehensive Immigration Reform his priority next year.

“With today’s Border bill, we are encouraged by its proposed funding for border security and USCIS processing capacities, among others. We also welcome its extension and funding of the right to legal representation to unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings, and mandating information of the right to legal representation to adults.

“Our caucus also welcomes the proposed military naturalization modernization, as well as the changes to automatize and facilitate employment authorization for fiancés, fiancées, spouses, and children of United States citizens and specialty workers. This is in line with what our Caucus recently advocated for by co-sponsoring the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) petition to grant work permits to long term contributors.

“However, we find highly concerning the insistence of restricting the Executive’s faculties to grant parole and asylum will keep families apart and put people in harm’s way; and we are not confident that the new expedited asylum process will be fair.

“We are also alarmed by how, at the behest of a twice-impeached political candidate who is no longer in elected office, members of Congress are again abandoning their oath to serve their constituents by refusing to invest in our immigration systems for what they believe are partisan benefits. It is still our hope that next time that our Congressional leaders decide to legislate on immigration, they do so with policy and the welfare of the American people and asylum seekers, not politics, in mind. We will hold Leader Schumer to his promise today, and we hope those who today are listening to that candidate will join Sen. Schumer in a bipartisan fashion.

“Immigration reform requires a comprehensive overhaul of our system to make it more effective, sustainable, and structured, and shying away from the conversation and some of the provisions in this bill are not even remotely close to what we’re seeing as a result of these months-long negotiations. This reform also must include a pathway to citizenship for ALL dreamers and common-sense legal pathways to facilitate immigration.”

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 450 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit www.nhcsl.org.