America is a nation of immigrants. Since the early days of the Mayflower settlers, immigrants from all over the world have made this land their home. They helped build America into a strong and vibrant nation and a symbol of freedom and liberty for the world.
However, immigrants and refugees are under assault by the Trump administration. Donald Trump has initiated a major crackdown on immigration during his first 100 days in office.
In spite of rejections from several federal courts on the first and second travel bans targeting Muslims, Trump continues to challenge the court’s ruling on the travel bans.
Congress denied Trump funding for a multi-billion dollar wall along the U.S-Mexico border. He continues to demand that Congress divert funding from critical social programs to build the wall.
Trump issued an executive order denying funding for sanctuary cities that refuse to help enforce federal immigration laws. This was also blocked by a federal district court.
Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have all argued that the administration will target serious criminals first. Their actions have shown otherwise.
“They’ve really changed the priorities from really going after the bad hombres to going after grandpas and people who have no criminal records whatsoever,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). “In essence, they’ve put fear and panic in the immigrant community.”
On June 15, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum to retain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and to rescind DACA. The DACA program, enacted by Obama in 2012, allows undocumented children brought to the U.S. at a young age to apply for deportation relief and work permits.
However, the Trump Administration made the situation confusing by announcing the next day that it had not made a long term decision on the future of the DACA program.
Therefore, the threat of deportation still hangs over Dreamers in the DACA program. We should urge bipartisan support to ensure that the legal status of Dreamers, those who came to this country as children, be resolved through Congressional actions.
Peter Roskam Watch
Since his election to Congress in 2006, Congressman Peter Roskam has shown a history of anti-immigrant actions through many immigration related votes and co-sponsorships. Here are a few examples:
- In 2015, Roskam voted in support of HR 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2015 to defund President Obama’s DACA program, making it impossible for DACA recipients to continue with legal status.
- He voted against the DREAM Act in 2010.
- In 2008, Roskam voted to support H.R. 5719, the Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification Ac, designed to punish sanctuary cities by denying tax exempt interest for bonds of sanctuary cities, thereby putting pressure on cities that do not enforce immigration laws and cities who do not cooperate with federal authorities on immigration matters.
- Roskam co-sponsored HR 3494-the Charlie Norwood CLEAR Act of 2007- which would deputize and pay for local police and sheriff\’s departments for detaining the undocumented immigrants.
- He voted in favor of the Brown-Waite amendment to HR 2638 to re-direct funding of $89 million for the construction of a 700 mile long fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
- He supported compliance with the Secure Fence Act of 2006 through completion of the fencing called for along the U.S.-Mexico border.
- He voted against “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants in 2007
- In 2009, Roskam Cosponsored of H.R. 1868, legislation to deny U.S. citizenship to U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. The Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009 would end the process of granting automatic citizenship to the U.S.-born children of whose parents do not have legal status in this country.
Birthright Citizenship was established by the Supreme Court ruling in 1898 that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants birthright citizenship to all persons born in the United States, regardless of race or nationality.
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Compiled by Nancy Chen
Nancy Chen, Author