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

February 17, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) led an amici curiae brief signed by 167 Members of Congress in support of plaintiffs suing President Trump in the Eastern District of New York over the recent Executive Order banning travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The Members of Congress, 140 Members of the House of Representatives and 27 U.S.

January 27, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DCU.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D- Calif.), Senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, issued the following statement today after President Trump announced executive actions:

January 24, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced new legislation today to curb H-1B visa outsourcing abuse and to start the overhaul of a broken high-skilled immigration program.

December 7, 2016 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, issued the following statement regarding President-Elect Donald Trump's nomination of Marine Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security

December 7, 2016 Blog Post

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 60 House Democrats, led by U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), today released a new letter to President Obama asking him to carefully consider a presidential pardon as part of a strategy to protect DREAMers with DACA from the incoming Trump Administration. 

November 17, 2016 Press Release

Today, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), and Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04) held a press conference at the U.S. Capitol to release a letter they have written to President Obama asking him to use the President's pardon authority to protect DREAMers – young people who were brought to the United States as children and signed up for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The letter can be read here.

November 1, 2016 Press Release

 SAN JOSE, C.A. – Today, in response to reports that the University of California San Francisco plans to lay-off one-third of its IT workforce in favor of H-1B employees, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren wrote to UC President Janet Napolitano, calling on her to reverse her decision to outsource American IT jobs.

The letter, sent November 1st reads:

September 2, 2016 Press Release

SAN JOSE, CA – On August 29, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for foreign startup entrepreneurs. Under this proposed rule, DHS may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs whose startup companies provide "significant public benefit." U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley), and Anna G.

August 9, 2016 Press Release

SAN JOSE, CA – U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today applauded a federal study being conducted on McDonnell Hall to determine its potential for designation as a National Historic Landmark.

McDonnell Hall, built in 1911 and originally a Catholic parish in an impoverished San Jose neighborhood, served as the birthplace of César E. Chávez's social justice movement and the farm labor movement.

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