House Democrats introduce immigration reform package
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), joined by Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Don Beyer (VA-08), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), have introduced a legislative package to protect immigrant rights.
The bills, first introduced in 2017 and 2018, seek to prevent a number of the most egregious immigration enforcement tactics witnessed during the Trump administration and protect the rights of immigrants so no future administration can repeat these horrible actions.
One of the bills, the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, will prohibit immigration enforcement in certain “sensitive locations” such as courthouses, schools, community centers and houses of worship, a tactic for targeting vulnerable immigrant communities that was common under the Trump administration.
Another measure, the Reunite Every Unaccompanied Newborn Infant Toddler and Other Children Expeditiously (REUNITE) Act, would require the immediate reunification of children who were separated from their parent or legal guardian as a result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
The ICE and CBP Body Camera Accountability Act would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol officers to wear body cameras and would make footage available for any legal proceedings.
“My colleagues and I are re-introducing this series of bills, a legislative package that will protect immigrants, immigrant families, and uphold the promises of the American dream,” Espaillat said. “Simply put, this legislative package puts forth policies to correct the atrocities we witnessed during the previous administration. We urge President Biden to consider our legislative package as his administration prioritzes keeping families together and rolling out the framework on which we will build to finally realize comprehensive immigration reform once and for all.”
“For four years immigrant families have borne the brunt of racist and nativist policies that betrayed America’s values,” Beyer said. “I witnessed the pain and suffering those polices caused, from tearful fathers whose children were torn away from them, to young children in my district whose mother was deported for driving with a broken tail light. I stood with community leaders who were outraged by ICE shakedowns at a hypothermia shelter in a place of worship, a violation of standing policy. This legislation would finally help restore humane immigration policies after four years of abuses and human rights violations.”
“We must remedy the terrible harm the previous administration caused to immigrants and mixed-status families, who are invaluable members of our community,” Bonamici said. “This package of legislation places needed checks on the tactics and conduct of ICE. Importantly, the legislation will expedite the reunion of children and families who were torn apart by Trump’s shameful and unjust family separation policy. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get these measures signed into law by President Biden.”
“Everyone, including immigrants in Chicago and across the country, deserves to feel safe when they go to school, see a doctor, practice their faith, or mourn the loss of loved ones. Instead, families live in constant fear of deportation. This legislative package will overturn some of Trump’s most egregious immigration enforcement tactics, including the practice of family separation,” García said. “The legislation also increases oversight of the Department of Homeland Security and holds ICE and CBP agents accountable by requiring the use of body cameras. In order to move forward, we must right our country’s past wrongs and ensure the rights of immigrants are protected.”
“As America begins a new presidential administration, we need to finally leave our country’s long xenophobic history of criminalizing immigration and separating families behind,” Jayapal said. “As one of only 14 naturalized citizens serving in Congress, I am proud to help introduce this legislative package as we work to reunite every family who has been cruelly torn apart, dramatically increase accountability and oversight measures, and stop ICE from terrorizing immigrants, our families, and our communities.”