Rep. Lujan Grisham hosts a DACA and DAPA information fair in Albuquerque, NM (April 2015)
Our current immigration system is broken, and we have the opportunity to implement reforms that would grow our economy and reduce our debt. Passing comprehensive immigration reform would create almost 2,000 jobs in New Mexico this year and would reduce the federal debt by nearly $850 billion over the next 20 years.
I join with the majority of the American people in addition to countless businesses to enact comprehensive immigration reform that would enhanced border security, establish a rigorous pathway to earned citizenship, and would be consistent with our values by promoting family unity. Since becoming Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last year, I have continued to work hard to achieve the comprehensive reforms that our country needs, protect Dreamers, and block Trump Administration proposals to attack immigrant communities.
There are approximately 800,000 undocumented Americans who, after coming to this country at a young age, have done everything right. They have stayed out of trouble, gone to school, paid their taxes, joined the military, started businesses and continued to patriotically love the United States—often the only country they have ever known. President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allowed these young immigrant Dreamers to study, join the workforce, and be productive members of society.
President Trump’s call to end DACA is a betrayal against a group of young people who are the living embodiment of American values. Ending DACA casts out nearly a million young people who want nothing more than to contribute to the country they love, revere, respect, and call home. There are approximately 19,000 DACA recipients in New Mexico, with a potential economic impact of $2.2 billion in our state by 2030.
Nearly 90% of Americans agree that DACA recipients should be protected from deportation, so we must not allow Trump and Republican leaders to continue to scuttle and stall bipartisan progress with poison pills and extreme demands. That’s why I, along with my colleagues in the House and Senate, and millions of Americans urge Congressional Republicans to do the right thing and bring the DREAM Act to a vote without delay. The DREAM Act provides a permanent solution for young people who have grown up here, contribute to our communities, and are Americans in every way but the paperwork. Rest assured that I will continue to fight for Dreamers and strongly oppose any enforcement changes that will result in the deportation of DACA recipients.
Border security is critically important to our national security and I support cost-effective investments to secure our border, but President Trump’s effort to construct a wall is unnecessary, impractical, ineffective, and extremely costly.
- The United States already maintains approximately 650 miles of border fence in areas that most effectively stop the unauthorized entry of people, vehicles, drugs, arms, and illicit items.
- A border wall would likely harm wildlife, destroy sensitive habitat for endangered species, damage the environment and the natural flow of floodwaters, and lead to costly litigation with landowners, the Native American community, and stakeholders.
- Harsh terrain and conditions along remote parts of the United States-Mexico border make the construction of a “mere speed bump in the desert” very costly.
- The construction of a border wall will cost between $15 billion to $25 billion, not including additional maintenance costs.
- The former Commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection, Gil Kerlikowske, stated that building a continuous wall is not “feasible” or the “smartest way to use taxpayer money”
President Trump’s efforts to build a wall complement his anti-immigrant, isolationist agenda, which only serves to undermine America’s reputation in the world. That is why I introduced the “Build Bridges Not Walls Act” (H.R. 837) which would prohibit President Trump from building a wasteful U.S.-Mexico border wall.