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House Vote on Refugee Children

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2014

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, delatorre@nilc.org, 213-400-7822

NILC: Shameful Display of Politics Attacks Women and Children Fleeing Violence

WASHINGTON — In a stunning display of cold political gamesmanship and miscalculation, the GOP-led House of Representatives hastily passed a measure today that would roll back due process protections for child refugees, a measure whose effect would be to deport many children back to violent and even deadly situations. The measure also would provide a small amount of temporary relief money, but only through the end of September.

As threatening as the House bill is to refugee children, anti-immigrant extremists in the House also demanded a floor vote to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program established two years ago for eligible “DREAMers” who have grown up in the U.S. According to initial NILC analysis of the legislation, the House-approved bill also would potentially result in preventing victims of domestic violence and other vulnerable immigrants from receiving work authorization.

The following is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

“Today will be remembered as one of the most shameful days ever on Capitol Hill. Instead of showing compassion to children, Congress played politics, advancing legislation that, if it is enacted, will place children directly in harm’s way. To make matters worse, Republicans voted — for the fifth time — to deport DREAMers, immigrant youth who have grown up in the U.S.

“Lost in the debate is a simple fact: We are talking about children who deserve our love and support. Reducing these children to nothing more than another political football and fighting to find ways to shuttle these children back to violence more quickly isn’t just bad politics — it is cruel.

“Attacking women and children clearly isn’t enough for this House. In its rush to roll back deferred action for DREAMers, the House has also gone after survivors of domestic violence and other immigrants, potentially stripping them of their ability to work as well. Every representative who voted for this poorly constructed, misguided piece of legislation should be ashamed.

“When Congress reconvenes in September, we hope its members will move beyond hyper-partisan votes to reject refugees, sue the president and deport DREAMers, and instead will get back to the business of keeping our government from careening from one emergency funding proposal to another. But given today’s votes, it appears that House Republicans are committed to being anti-immigrant and extremist.

“Today’s vote makes it clear that the president must act on his own to provide solutions to support both the refugee children and the 11 million aspiring citizens. He has the authority. Now he must use it.”

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