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.
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.
As Chair of the House Judiciary Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee, Zoe tries to cut through the divisive political rhetoric to advance commonsense immigration policy solutions that are practical and will help America thrive.
Migrant Families at the Border
Zoe has visited multiple U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities at the southern border and has been 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 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.
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. 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.
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 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
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With refugees fleeing violence worldwide, House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced bicameral legislation Thursday to bolster and update the nation's laws to promote a more fair and efficient asylum and refugee process.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, reacting to a Reuters news story that the Obama Administration will launch a new round of immigration raids targeting Central American women and children, Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) released a joint statement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the following statement today during markup in opposition to H.R. 4731, a Republican bill to attack refugees and the programs that serve them:
"This markup falls during a week that will end with the Republicans passing a partisan resolution condemning executive actions meant to bring some sense of sanity to our broken immigration system. And it comes amidst a Presidential nomination season rife with vile anti-immigrant rhetoric.
WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, 54 House Democrats, led by U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D- Ill.), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), introduced new legislation to protect children and other vulnerable groups in immigration proceedings by ensuring access to counsel, legal orientation programs, and case management services.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, released a new letter calling for formal guidance related to the dual national provisions of the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), and Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) issued the following statement regarding refugee screening and resettlement for El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala:
"The Administration's recently announced recognition that many Central Americans qualify as refugees under international law is an important and constructive step towards a comprehensive regional refugee solution to address violence in the Central American region.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) released a letter to President Obama signed by 146 Democrats calling for a suspension of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) home raids that have targeted Central American families and children.
Recently, Congress acted to address vulnerabilities in our visa waiver program by passing H.R. 158 – the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act. Following terrorist attacks in Paris, much attention was called to vulnerabilities in our visa waiver program.
Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) introduced the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act, which became the basis of Congressional action.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D- CA19) were joined by 216 members of Congress in filing an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court granting review of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in United States v. Texas, et al,. The amicus makes the case that President's November 2014 actions to allow certain immigrant parents of U.S.
"Thank you Mr. Speaker –
"All of us watched with horror the events in Paris. November 13th was France's September 11th, and all of us have paused to consider what further should be done to make sure America is safe, because our first obligation as Members of Congress is to make sure America is safe.