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.
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.
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.
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
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), as part of a bipartisan coalition of sixteen Members of Congress, filed an amicus brief with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), urging the court to release its secret opinions interpreting Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Recent leaks to the media revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has conducted a massive surveillance program on all domestic telephone users over the last seven years.
Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) delivered the following statement during a mark-up of H.R. 2278, the "Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act" (The SAFE Act), in the House Judiciary Committee:
Thank you Mr. Chairman. This bill must be opposed.
It would turn millions of undocumented immigrants into criminals overnight.
It would turn State and local law enforcement officers around the country into immigration agents.
It would expand mandatory and prolonged detention.
A bipartisan group of eight Members from the U.S. House of Representatives released the following statement today regarding their efforts for comprehensive reform of the U.S. immigration system:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives Thursday that would improve the Nation's immigration laws to ensure the longstanding American tradition of protecting refugees and asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today released the following statement after voting for the bipartisan Senate version of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization, which passed the House by a vote of 286-138. Last year Rep. Lofgren was one of the House Democratic leaders who spoke against Republican attempts to roll back VAWA's protections for women, calling for a stronger reauthorization of the law:
Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, delivered the following statement during a House Judiciary Committee hearing entitled "America's Immigration System: Opportunities for Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Laws Against Illegla Immigration":
"I [also] congratulate Mr. Goodlatte for his new chairmanship, as well as Chairman Gowdy and the other subcommittee chairmen. I look forward to working with them this Congress as we tackle the nation's problems.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, released the following statement today on President Barrack Obama's call for comprehensive immigration reform during a speech in Las Vegas, Nev.: