Immigration

Our country was founded by immigrants who came seeking freedom. That desire for freedom and a society where merit, not birthright, determined an individual's life helped to shape the greatest experiment in self-determination known the world over as America.

The hard work and determination of immigrants, seeking an opportunity to live up to their full potential and to build better lives for their families, make America strong. The freedom immigrants have found here has unleashed their creativity and sparked the strongest economy in the world.

Immigrants from industrialist Andrew Carnegie to Google's Sergey Brin came to our shores, and in the process, created new innovative enterprises and unparalleled prosperity for the United States.

Today, people still look towards America and dream of a better life. Our colleges and universities attract some of the most gifted minds from around the globe. Talented entrepreneurs still see our country as a cradle for innovation and an area to pioneer new industries.

Zoe is the granddaughter of immigrants. She became an immigration lawyer and, before elected office, taught immigration law at the University of Santa Clara Law School. She knows that the country's immigration laws must be reformed if the United States is to succeed in the 21st Century.

As the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, Zoe tries to cut through the divisive political rhetoric to advance common sense immigration policy solutions that are practical and will help America thrive.

In 2019, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) was honored by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) at its "Empowering Voices Awards" for her work on behalf of immigrants and refugees. The video produced by MPAC for that ceremony is below. 

U.S. Rep. Lofgren Honored by Muslim Public Affairs Council

 

Migrant Families at the Border

In March, Zoe visited multiple U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities at the southern border and was horrified at what she saw. She believes that it’s unconscionable that children are dying at the border and that migrant families continue to suffer from inhumane conditions while in U.S. custody. Because it is the responsibility of Congress to intervene when the Executive Branch isn’t doing its job, she recently voted for emergency funding that would better provide those held by CBP with clean drinking water, healthy food, sanitary items, blankets, and medical services, among other forms of humanitarian aid.

Zoe also wants to address the root causes of the refugee crisis in Central America before it reaches our border. That is why she introduced the Northern Triangle and Border Stabilization Act, a comprehensive, 5-pronged strategy to combat the underlying violence and instability that compels thousands of refugees to flee Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. It would create a regional plan in Central America to enable families and children to seek refuge in the United States and other nations, without having to make the dangerous journey to our southern border.

   

Rep. Lofgren talks with Hallie Jackson about the importance of passing emergency border funding

 

DREAM Act

As Chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, Rep. Lofgren was instrumental in ensuring the votes necessary to pass the Dream Act in the House this year. The DREAM Act would let young people who were brought to the U.S. as children come forward, register, and regularize their legal status. This would contribute to our nation's well being. Many of these young people have no memory of the land where they were born. Many speak only English and cannot speak the language of the land of their birth. Many times these children learn of their status while seeking to better themselves by pursuing higher education or to serve our country in the armed forces. The bipartisan DREAM Act would give these young people the opportunity to live freely, continue their studies, and their contributions to the country they love and call home. These young people are American in every way but their paperwork.

 

The U.S. House Makes History by Passing the Dream Act

 

Important Information for DREAMers

Recently President Trump announced his administration would end deferred action for eligible youth. However, Court actions have temporarily blocked Trump from ending this program. If you have ever had DACA status before and haven’t committed a disqualifying criminal offense, you can still apply to renew. For more information on Deferred Action, including eligibility requirements, official forms, and how to apply, please click here.

Top-to-Bottom Immigration Reform

Today, our immigration system is failing our country. Its dysfunction shuts out the best and brightest minds rather than attracting innovators who could grow our economy and keep it competitive. It traps determined, hard-working individuals in a cycle that exploits them for their labor. It separates spouses and parents from children for years.

Zoe believes that we should be able to work in a bipartisan manner to fix this broken system through top to bottom immigration reform. With reform, we can protect American workers while meeting the economic needs of our country leading to greater growth and opportunities for everyone.

Rather than breaking families apart, we can unite them. Rather than expelling brilliant, highly-skilled students and entrepreneurs to compete against us from overseas, we should attract the best and brightest minds who want to help America succeed. Rather than failing to meet the needs of important sectors of our economy such as agriculture, we can help these industries legally employ their workforce.

By securing our borders and ensuring our laws are enforced, we can also regularize the status of those who currently live in the shadows to promote family unification and shared values like hard work and playing by the rules.

High Skilled Immigration Reform

Zoe has introduced legislation to curb H-1B visa outsourcing abuse and to start the overhaul of a broken high-skilled immigration program. The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 would curtail abuse of the program which has allowed replacement of American workers by outsourcing companies with cheaper H-1B workers. In several recent incidences, high-profile U.S. employers including Disney, Southern California Edison, and most recently the University of California San Francisco, have made news in this manner. The legislation prioritizes market based allocation of visas to those companies willing to pay 200% of a wage calculated by survey, eliminates the category of lowest pay, and raises the salary level at which H-1B dependent employer are exempt from nondisplacement and recruitment attestation requirements to greater than $130,000.

To learn more about Zoe's work on immigration issues, please click on the news links below:

More on Immigration

July 16, 2014 Press Release
SAN JOSE, CA – Santa Clara County is ready to assist in the efforts to care for unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border, announced local and federal officials today.

July 3, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three Democratic lawmakers called on the Obama Administration to increase efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for tens of thousands of unaccompanied children apprehended on the U.S. – Mexico border.

May 6, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19) released the following statement today applauding a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiatives designed to encourage highly skilled and technically trained individuals working in the U.S. under the H-1B visa program to stay and contribute more fully to the U.S. economy.  The announced changes would allow the spouses of H1-B visa holders to apply for work authorization after 6 years of residence in the country:
 
April 30, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19) released the following statement reacting to the news of the deportation of Antonia Aguilar, a mother of three children in the Bay Area.  Earlier this week Rep. Lofgren introduced a ‘private bill' to provide relief for Ms. Aguilar after learning of her situation during a meeting with her son who attends college at San Jose State University:
 
April 16, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – One year ago today, eight members of the U.S. Senate - Senators Schumer, Durbin, McCain, Rubio, Bennet, Menendez, Flake and Graham - introduced S. 744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act."  This comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. immigration system would bring millions of undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, strengthen American businesses, families, and communities, and spur much-needed economic growth.  While the U.S. Senate passed S. 744 on a bipartisan vote of 68-32, the U.S.

April 3, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the leading Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, delivered the following statement today during a joint hearing with the House Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommittee titled "Overturning 30 Years of Precedent:  Is the Administration Ignoring the Dangers of Training Libyan pilots and Nuclear Scientists?"

March 26, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on an effort begun by Democrats to give an up or down vote in the House on bipartisan immigration reform.  With House Republicans continuing to block a vote on H.R.

February 11, 2014 Press Release

Rep Zoe Lofgren Statement on Immigration Reform and House GOP Hearing on Alleged Fraud in U.S. Asylum Programs

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the leading Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, delivered the following statement during a subcommittee hearing today titled "Asylum Fraud: Abusing America's Compassion?":

 

January 30, 2014 Press Release

SAN JOSE, CA – Today Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee's Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, issued a statement in response to the released "Standards for Immigration Reform" that House Republicans are debating during a policy retreat this week:

 

"It's clear we need  a reasonable and enforceable immigration system that keeps our country safe, keeps families together, and permits  immigrants with drive and desire to help our nation prosper.

 

December 12, 2013 Press Release

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, delivered the following statement during the last hearing of the House Judiciary Committee in 2013, titled  "Asylum Abuse: Is it Overwhelming our Borders?":

(as delivered)

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