My mother was an immigrant. She came to this country in 1958 for the same reason all immigrants come to America: she was seeking a better life.
So I experienced horror and revulsion last week when I heard District 21 congressman, Lamar Smith, speak in support of repealing DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. There are 124,000 people in Texas who were brought here illegally as children by their parents. These children, many of whom are now adults, are Americans. They were educated in American public schools, many have attended American universities, and are now employed at American companies. They pay income tax and lead productive lives.
For Lamar, the president, and their fellow Republicans, this action is about dismantling the legacy of our previous president. There is nothing in any public statement that expresses compassion, empathy, or concern for the human lives at stake.
And then, to top that off, Lamar introduced two immigration-related bills. The Legal Workforce Act would expand the E-Verify system and create a new level of intrusive government oversight for employers. Despite Lamar’s claims about this system, it has been around since 2013, so we know that it does little to stop illegal immigration or to protect American workers. And it hurts businesses, particularly small businesses, that rely on immigrant labor.
The Immigration in the National Interest Act would reduce legal immigration in half over the next ten years to about 500,000 immigrants per year; limit refugees to 50,000 per year; and eliminate the Diversity Visa program in lieu of a point-based system for legal immigration. This legislation is limiting and divisive. It sends the message that the United States is closing itself to the world and that outsiders are not welcome.
Because my mother was an immigrant, perhaps I feel closer to the immigrant experience than many people, such as Lamar and his Republican colleagues. I can tell you that no one loves the United States more than an immigrant, who has chosen to leave his or her country of birth for the chance to build a better life for themselves and their children. We are a nation of immigrants. Diversity and inclusion make us stronger.
The latest is that Trump is talking to Democrats in Congress to come up with a solution. Maybe it would have been a good idea to do that first?
The time is NOW to call, write, or visit an office and tell Lamar your personal story about your family, an immigrant or refugee family you know, or a DACA recipient in your community. Let him know that you are outraged by these actions.
Lamar Smith office phone numbers:
San Antonio: 210-821-5024