Mariel Saez, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – In today's colloquy with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the need for comprehensive immigration reform and urged the House Republican leadership to bring legislation to the Floor to address our broken immigration system. Below are excerpts from colloquy and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to meet with the DREAMers, a number of DREAMers who want to join the Armed Forces of the United States. There is a bill called the ENLIST Act, introduced by one of our Republican Members, that, essentially, says we're going to allow DREAMers to enlist and, through their service, they could establish their path to citizenship.
“Now, Mr. Speaker, that's an important bill for me because my father came from Denmark. He came here in 1934 at the age of 32. He served in the Armed Forces of the United States and became a citizen through his service during World War II in the Armed Forces of the United States. The sponsor of the ENLIST Act wanted to offer it to the defense authorization bill that we just passed. Last year when the House considered defense authorization bill, an amendment similar to the ENLIST Act was made in order. Unfortunately, it was not made in order this time, so we didn't get an opportunity to vote on that one way or the other.
“The Majority Leader knows, Mr. Speaker, that I’ve been asking in almost every colloquy when we're going to consider legislation that will deal with the broken immigration system that confronts us. This was one opportunity that was again rejected. Not missed, rejected. So many colleagues, Mr. Speaker, on the Republican side of the aisle - Mr. Schock, said we need a clear path to citizenship for workers who are already here. [Rep.] Adam Kinzinger said we have the opportunity to grow our economy and 'we must work hard to come to an agreement and bring undocumented workers out of the shadows.' [Rep.] John Shimkus said 'we have to address the 12 million undocumented immigrants who are already here by moving them legally into the workforce.' The Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, growers, farm workers, faith groups across the spectrum – all urging us to pass immigration reform, yet, frankly, we are not addressing it in any way."
“I thank the Gentleman for his comments but, very frankly, we can't impose ‘my way or the highway’ in this House. Mr. Speaker, as you well know, the Republicans are in the Majority. We can't impose any way. We can simply ask for some way to be brought to the Floor. It can be brought forth individually, the ENLIST Act. I would ask, Mr. Speaker, whether the Majority Leader believes the ENLIST Act is going to be brought to the Floor? I would ask him whether any of the bills that are passed out of the Republican Judiciary Committee are going to be brought to the Floor? They passed out over six months ago. A bill out of the Homeland Security Committee to deal with border security passed out of the Committee some four-plus months ago. [It] has not been brought to this Floor. So we're not looking for ‘my way,’ we're looking for any way. Some way. We're looking for a path, a way to get to addressing this issue. And there has been no way. …
“I continue to be frustrated, and the Majority Leader, Mr. Speaker, responds to me that somehow they don't trust the President. Presumably, they trust their Committee chairs. Presumably you trust yourselves, presumably, if you bring something to the Floor you trust that you will vote the way you believe, as we will do on this side of the aisle. And maybe some on our side of the aisle will agree with you, maybe some on your side will agree with us. If we don't bring it to the Floor, it's no way. We're not going to get much progress there.”