On June 15, 2012, President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security announced a plan to make our immigration system more fair and just. Young adults who were brought to the United States as children, do not present a risk to national security, and meet eligibility criteria, will be granted relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.
These actions are the first steps to help rebuild our broken system. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Congressman Xavier Becerra, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Senator Robert Menendez, with the support of the House Tri-Caucus, have been diligent in their pursuit of a progressive immigration policy. These Members worked with President Obama to relieve certain young people from deportation.
This policy is a step in the right direction, but more action is needed to fix our broken immigration system. President Obama implemented this reform because in this bitter partisan climate in Congress, there is a lack of perspective and will to tackle these difficult issues. The DREAM Act, which I strongly supported, passed in the House, but failed to pass in the Senate due to obstruction by the Republicans. The DREAM Act would have provided a pathway to citizenship, and allowed the best and brightest young people to earn their legal status.
Our Nation’s immigration policy needs to be enforced humanely, and with consideration of those who were too young to make the choice to come to the United States. Millions of young people were brought to this country by their parents and identify with being American. They attend our schools, contribute significantly to our workforce, and serve in our military. These people are American in their minds and hearts and in their actions, but not on paper.
It would be a shame to continue removing productive young people to countries that they have not lived in or speak the language. It is important to our community to keep our families together, not to tear them apart. I am proud of the diversity of the 30th district, and I will continue working with my colleagues to fight for comprehensive immigration reform.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th congressional district in Texas.