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Feb 4, 2024

National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators Responds to Immigration and Foreign Aid Bill; Mayorkas Impeachment Attempt

Washington, D.C. – Following today’s release by Sen. Chris Murphy (CT), Sen. Kirsten Sinema (AZ), and Sen. James Lankford (OK) of the Border Security and Combatting Fentanyl Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024, a long-negotiated bipartisan bill tying migrant funding and border security to a companion bill on foreign aid, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) released the following statement:

“Today’s announced measures on border security and migrant processing are much better than what the House majority threatened with H.R. 2, but the American people still await comprehensive immigration reform that would facilitate legal migration. We welcome and appreciate safeguarding TPS for Venezuelans and Nicaragua and parole for Cubans; the funding relief of $2.334 billion for wraparound assistance for newly arrived refugees that responds to requests from local and state leaders that have been dealing with a higher volume of asylum seekers in need; the increase in front-line personnel, the funding of an improved system for migrant processing; the temporary family visits; the access to counsel for asylum seekers, including automatic and mandatory legal counsel for children 13 and younger.

“Additionally, we welcome the provisions for immediate work permits for asylum seekers; the pathway to citizenship for documented dreamers; as well as the funding to bolster partner country efforts to improve the integration of migrants.

“But 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. Also, additional funding for Operation Stonegarden might promote further deadly abuses like the ones we have seen in Texas.

“Attempts to drastically curb immigration will hurt the economy. As Nobel laureate Paul Krugman points out, ‘All of the rise in the U.S. labor force since the beginning of the pandemic has come from foreign-born workers’. He explains this growth increases wages for native-born workers and adds: ‘So let’s be clear: properly regulated immigration is very good for America, including those of us born here, and cutting it off would be deeply destructive.’

“Furthermore, the existence of this bill lays bare the sham behind the unprecedented House attempt to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He has not committed any impeachable offenses, and this bill shows that Congress never provided the resources he had long requested, even with wide support from the American people, including Hispanic communities.

“Additionally, we strongly oppose the inflammatory and exaggerated reports on the situation in the southern border and what they are encouraging, and the toxic and racist rhetoric around immigrants and asylum seekers. Our Nation is one built by immigrants, and these discourses seek to end our centuries-long tradition of being a haven to those pursuing freedom.

“Immigration reform requires a comprehensive overhaul of our system to make it more effective, sustainable, and structured, and that’s 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.

“Our Caucus, composed of state legislators from across the country, understands that legislating is a compromise process and that no bill is perfect. But solving the so-called ‘border issue’ cannot be achieved by using it as a political pawn to secure the foreign aid we provide to Ukraine and Israel. It takes a serious, holistic, and committed approach. It is our hope that next time that our Congressional leaders decide to legislate on immigration, they welcome a more substantial participation and input from Hispanic leaders and communities, and legislate without caving to extremist partisan politics.”

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.