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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after Republican Congressional leaders – who are feeling the political heat for the punitive measures in the House immigration bill – tried to pin the blame on Democrats for that measure:
“Last December, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, crafted a punitive and misguided proposal that sought to make criminals out of millions of undocumented immigrants and would harshly punish their relatives, neighbors and employers. This point must be stressed: That proposal was unanimously supported in Committee by Republicans, and unanimously opposed by Democrats.
“A week later, the Republican leadership rushed the Sensenbrenner proposal to the House Floor, and blocked Democratic efforts to pursue a balanced and comprehensive approach to the issue of immigration reform.
“Now, four months later, as the potential effects of the Republican proposal are widely exposed, as thousands of people peacefully rally around the nation to oppose the Sensenbrenner plan, and as the American people demand a reasonable approach to the issue of immigration, Chairman Sensenbrenner and the Republican leadership are trying to run away from the Republican plan to criminalize undocumented immigrants. And, in what can only be called a fit of Orwellian double-speak, they are trying to pin the blame for a Republican proposal on Democrats.
“Make no mistake, the House Republicans’ immigration proposal passed because of Republican votes. Republicans overwhelmingly voted for it, and Democrats overwhelmingly voted against it.
“The American people should not fall for the Republican smoke and mirror tactics. The record is clear. Democrats opposed Republican efforts to make criminals out of immigrants – whether through a felony or a misdemeanor charge – and in the end overwhelmingly voted against the House Republicans’ immigration bill.
“The irony of ironies is that Congressional Republicans are now blaming House and Senate Democrats for a product that Republicans created. That is patently absurd and a sign of political desperation.”