The Democratic-led House of Representatives has just passed the “Dream and Promise and Venezuelan TPS” measure in the House Judiciary, a move that will only further the existing divide in the congress over immigration reform.
Prior to controlling the House, Democrats fought the Trump administration over DACA, refusing to work with Republicans to pass immigration reforms.
Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), who is part of the new crop of Progressive freshmen in the House, addressed the immigration measure, and called out Republicans for using terms like “illegal aliens” to describe immigrants.
I just would like to remind my colleagues across the aisle…When you use language like illegal aliens, I would like you to take one moment and see how everyone reacts to that language.
The term illegal alien has been widely accepted and used in government, regardless of which political party has controlled the White House and/or the U.S. Congress.
Republicans are not the only ones using terms like “illegal aliens” or “Illegal immigrants.”
President Bill Clinton and VP Al Gore, were just as hawkish on immigration reform as many Republicans. During a presidential news conference on illegal immigration in 1994, both Clinton and Gore spoke about halting the stream of illegal immigrants and “illegal aliens” entering the country.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Several weeks ago, I asked the vice president to work with our departments and agencies to examine what more might be done about the problems along our borders. I was especially concerned about the growing problems of alien smuggling and international terrorists hiding behind immigrant status, as well as the continuing flow of illegal immigrants across American borders. Following several weeks of intense efforts, including his personal involvement in resolving the recent alien smuggling incident with Mexico, the vice president presented me with a report spelling out what we might do…
The solution is to welcome legal immigrants and legal, legitimate refugees and to turn away those who do not obey the laws. We must say no to illegal immigration, so we can continue to say yes to legal immigration.
Today, we send a strong and clear message. We will make it tougher for illegal aliens to get into our country. We will treat organizing a crime syndicate to smuggle aliens as a serious crime. And we will increase the number of border patrol, equipping and training them to be first-class law enforcement officers…”
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: The centerpiece of these initiatives is a legislative proposal carefully drawn to protect the rights of legal immigrants while allowing us to speed up the exclusion of illegal aliens at ports of entry. Right now, thousands of aliens arrive each year at airports and other entry points without proper documentation. What happens if, as they come off the airplane or off some smuggler’s ship, they request political asylum? They’re entitled to a range of administrative procedures that enable them to remain in the United States for many long months or even longer.
President Barack Obama, who deported more illegal immigrants than any other president before him, pushed for more “boots on the southern border” to reduce “illegal” crossings.
“Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made — putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.”
“The American people are fundamentally pro-legal immigration and anti-illegal immigration. We will only pass comprehensive reform when we recognize this fundamental concept.” (Senator Chuck Schumer, Speech At The Immigration Law & Policy Conference At Georgetown Law , Washington, D.C., 06/24/09)
· “First, illegal immigration is wrong,” Schumer declared, “and a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.” (Senator Chuck Schumer, Speech At The Immigration Law & Policy Conference At Georgetown Law , Washington, D.C., 06/24/09)
“ ‘The bill before us will certainly do some good,’ Obama said on the Senate floor in October 2006. He praised the legislation, saying it would provide ‘better fences and better security along our borders’ and would ‘help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.’” (Annie Linksey, “In 2006, Democrats Were Saying ‘Build That Fence!’” Boston Globe , 1/27/17)
Even then-Sen. Hillary Clinton argued the case for legal immigration:
At a November 2015 town hall in New Hampshire, Clinton said that she “voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in, and I do think that you have to control your borders.’” (Annie Linksey, “In 2006, Democrats Were Saying ‘Build That Fence!’” Boston Globe , 1/27/17)