On June 27, 2018, the House of Representatives soundly rejected an anti-immigrant bill cloaked as a measure that would have provided relief to young adults whose legal status is in limbo following the Administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
H.R. 6136, the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018” was the second of two bills that Speaker Paul Ryan brought to the floor after having his hand forced by a bipartisan coalition of representatives that wanted a vote on DACA relief. Unfortunately, members of the House of Representatives tried to leverage the broad support for DACA relief as an opportunity to introduce a bill that would have funded the border wall, rolled back asylum protections, decreased legal immigration, and pushed through other provisions to make the U.S. a more hostile environment for immigrants who already call this nation “home”, and to repel immigrants not yet here whom we need to keep this nation vibrant and prosperous.
Like its companion bill H.R. 4760 that would have exponentially reduced legal immigration at a time when unemployment is at a 17 year low nationwide and at a 40 year low in Maine, and when employers are clamoring for talent, H.R. 6136 went down to defeat (301 opposed to 121 in favor).
MeBIC applauds Rep. Chellie Pingree for voting against both of these anti-immigrant bills that would have harmed our economy and our standing in the world. We are disappointed that Rep. Bruce Poliquin voted for both of them.
The result of the House leadership’s decision to allow votes only on these two immigration bills is that over 700,000 individuals with DACA status who are already fully participating in our communities and our economy are still living in limbo while they wait for Congress to pass, and President Trump to sign, a bill that will give them a path to permanent legal status. Only federal court decisions that are still being litigated stand between them and the loss of their work permission and their legal presence in the U.S.
We urge Congress to work urgently to pass legislation protecting those with DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who are on the cusp of being forced out of our communities and our workforce, that will not also contain a laundry list of poison pills as did both H.R. 4760 and H.R. 6136.