WASHINGTON — California Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman said at a press conference on immigration outside the Capitol Friday afternoon that America needs immigration reform to help those here illegally while also allowing them unionize for better wages.
“We need a regular process by which the 12 million people who are part of our society can be fully part of our society, and they need documents,” the congressman said. “It’s important for the labor market of this country because as long as there are 12 million people without documents, there are 12 million people who can’t stand up for their rights as workers, and that means there are 12 million people who can be used by unscrupulous employers to keep down wages and to prevent unions from organizing.”
Sherman was joined at the press conference by Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Lloyd Doggett. Each member thanked President Obama for his executive order to stop the deportation of certain illegal immigrants, but they said it was only the first step in a process Congress needs to finish.
“We’re so glad that President Obama announced his policy for deferred action,” said Chu. “Now students who came here through now fault on their own can qualify to stay here, but that’s not enough. We need to address all the problems of our broken system. That means passing the Dream Act permanently.”
On June 15, President Obama issued an executive order announcing deferred action on deportation. “Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be allowed to remain in the country without fear of deportation and able to work.”
The House of Representatives in 2010 passed the Dream Act by a vote of 216–198, however, the bill died in the Senate when it failed to reach 60 votes for cloture.
The president in a statement following the House’s passage of the Dream Act said, “This vote is not only the right thing to do for a group of talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own by continuing their education or serving in the military, but it is the right thing for the United States of America.”
Rep. Green said it wrong for America as a country to educate children who were brought here as young children by their parents and then deport them to a country they do not even know.
“No country in the world would take a child whose grown up in their country, gone to public schools, gone to college, and tell them ‘you’re not going to get your legal residency. Go back and stand in line at our consulate in Mexico.’ That is wrong.”
Jackson Lee echoed Green’s statements. She said under a second Obama term, the United States will have its “dream kids.”
“We want comprehensive immigration reform, and we will not stop until we achieve it and as this president is re-elected we will not only have our dream kids, the ones that I’ve worked with in my office, but we’ll have their families. We’ll have their grandparents. We’ll have returning soldiers have the right to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States as American citizens.”
Supporters of the Dream Act plan to hold a march at the Lincoln Memorial at midnight on Sept. 15, 2012.