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NHLA Opposes Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018

NHLA Calls on Congress to reject the bigotry and dehumanization that would be codified by this legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, today expressed strong opposition to the proposed H.R. 6136, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. With immigrants under attack by an administration that has seen fit to separate children from families at the border, NHLA believes that this bill further advances the White House’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino agenda. NHLA made its opposition clear in a letter to members of Congress citing flaws in the bill. Additionally, NHLA said it closely monitor this matter for inclusion in its future scorecards, which evaluate member support for the Latino community, including any votes on this measure. While the legislation is called the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, it is entirely focused on building a border wall in exchange for regressive immigration policies. As the letter to Congress states, the bill “includes a number of troubling proposals.” It would expand the criminalization of immigrants, increase the categorization of young immigrants as gang members, eliminate certain family-based visas categories and further entrench the use of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers. It would also roll back protections for unaccompanied or other vulnerable children, in keeping with the Trump administration’s unconscionable use of children as pawns in setting immigration policy. Its pretense of immigration reform even falls short of what the Trump administration previously proposed. In exchange for protection of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and DACA-eligible young people,it would restrict the ability of U.S. citizens to reunite with family members and fundamentally alter our immigration system in profound ways. It would provide $23 billion in taxpayer dollars to build the President’s wasteful border wall and increase militarization of the Southern border. In light of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy this bill does nothing to address the cruelty of this administration on the border. Rather than provide relief for families seeking asylum, it codifies the increased and continued practice of holding families in detention. "Trying to use ongoing inhumane government atrocities to coerce acceptance of other inhumane government practices is little more than legislative extortion," said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA Chair and MALDEF President and General Counsel. "This is no time for half measures; Congress must end the inhumane separation of families immediately and completely." “Hispanic Federation calls on Congress, but especially Republicans who continue to empower and give cover to the President’s noxious xenophobic agenda, to immediately and forcefully demand that this Administration end the policy of forced separations. We further encourage them to reject the two legislative attempts at sham immigration reform currently before the House of Representatives. Neither the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 nor the Securing America’s Future Act being presented by Republican leadership provide a humane solution that honors our values as Americans. Both pieces of legislation increase the power of the very institutions in our government that are most directly responsible for the suffering of people seeking security and safety in this country.”


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