The Judiciary Committee met up Wednesday night to discuss a bill that would keep a position in Immigration and Customs Enforcement but would not be funded by taxpayer money. As part of a previous bill last year, the position was defunded and there was a move to eliminate the position in general. The position of public advocate works with ICE to delivery community outreach programs benefiting immigrants.
Blame game by Congress
The position for ICE has been previously funded by the government until the renegotiation of the bill. Now, not only will funding be cut, but this will become the first piece of immigration legislation passed this year. One side is arguing that President Obama has been selective with the nation’s laws that he has yet to enforce all of them while the other side argues he has been strict with deportation numbers the highest they have ever been.
The blame game continues with small provisions being passed between the House and Senate, but no news on what will happen to the comprehensive immigration bill that was so strongly debated. “One of the reasons we don’t have immigration reform today is because the president refuses to enforce the law,” said Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho.
“Step Backwards with Immigration”
This bill comes just weeks after advocates were hoping Congress would follow up on their promises and finally pass some sort of compromise with immigration. Because this is an election year, many people’s hopes are being dashed as influential lawmakers are shying away from any bills that could possibly create controversy. Rep. John Conyers called the committee’s decision on Wednesday a “step backward to pass any bipartisan immigration.” Public advocates play a crucial role in the immigration system and ensure the safety of all those being held in custody by ICE.
Just a few months ago the Senate had a bill in place that contained a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people, a new visa and enforcement programs in place and methods to tightening border security. Today, none of that exists and crucial jobs aimed at helping immigrants are defunded. This political move is disheartening for immigration activists as well as the 11 million undocumented immigrants hoping they would have had a chance at becoming part of U.S. society. Thankfully, many states are taking action and passing their own immigrant friendly laws. St. Louis is one of these cities that is welcoming immigrants regardless of Congress’s actions.
If you have questions regarding applying for a visa or immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.