Lofgren Floor Statement on H.R. 4760
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, delivered the following remarks on the House floor in opposition to H.R. 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act (SAFE Act):
“Madame Chair - this is an anti-immigrant bill. It slashes legal immigration, it will injure the ag industry, it criminalizes nearly the entire undocumented population, it will undermine public safety, and removes critical protections for families and children, and it even fails to provide a pathway to legal permanent residence for Dreamers.
“You know, sometimes my friends across the aisle say the problem with immigration is we don’t have assimilation. You don’t get assimilation when you create a permanent underclass of people who are Americans in every way but their paperwork.
“It eliminates family-based categories, and this is the relatives of Americans – American citizens and Legal Permanent Residents – forget it – you’re not going to be able to get your family members in if this bill passes.
“It mandates the use of E-Verify which would be highly disruptive to restaurants, hotels, and other industries, and the changes to the ag worker program are just a fig-leaf.
“The bill transforms a civil-law violation into a crime so that undocumented immigrants – including the parents of DREAMers the bill purports to help – become criminals overnight. It would accelerate separation of kids from parents when 11 million American workers suddenly become subject to prosecution.
“Undermining our asylum system by establishing impossibly high evidentiary burdens – it removes protections, as I said. And it does nothing to reunite the thousands of children who’ve been taken away from their parents at the border. Instead, it facilitates putting mothers in the cages with their toddlers.
“So why are we debating a bill that nearly everyone, even many in the Republican party, think is a terrible idea? I fear it is because the very extreme elements of the Republican party have become the loudest and the most powerful.
“I continue to have faith in the good people of our country. The American public spoke out loudly against President Trump’s family separation policy. They couldn’t stand seeing little children – babies and toddlers – ripped from their mothers’ arms. And we saw a reversal, but it’s not a solution, because locking up mothers, putting those mothers in the cages with their toddlers, is not the solution to this problem.
“We’re not going to let hatred, bigotry and xenophobia prevail in this country. I would urge a no vote on this bill.”
. . .
“I wish that we had an opportunity to sit down, reason together, and come up with a plan that really serves our country. That didn’t happen. Here’s what the result was - the Chamber of Commerce has just reported that the Niskanen Center, that they have relied on, indicates that if this bill became law, the US would lose $319 billion in GDP. That would be the impact, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, for adopting this bill.
“And I wonder what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are really doing? By turning every undocumented person in the United States – currently a civil law violation – into a crime, we’re now creating 11 million prosecution opportunities – and at the same time, the Washington Post is just reporting, and I quote, this is the headline: “Trump Administration Will Stop Prosecuting Migrant Parents Who Cross the Border Illegally with Children, Official Says.”
“What are we doing here? We’re doing a bill that would incarcerate families and children to pursue a policy that the Administration now says they don’t intend to pursue. Now I don’t have a lot of trust in the Trump Administration because it changes daily, but I will say – I would urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to take a step back here. Your President has left you out on a limb, and he just sawed that limb off, for a bill that does damage to the country, for a policy he now has apparently has abandoned. This is a ridiculous situation here.”
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