On Wednesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner said the House had no intention of passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year.
“Speaker Boehner is going back on his word,” said Virginia Organizing Chairperson Sandra A. Cook. “Just a year ago, he said that he would work with the President and all of Congress to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform. Now that there is real opportunity for that reality, the House leadership is refusing to even give the bills a vote. This is an outrageous abuse of power that goes against the will of the people.”
This summer, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill that included provisions for border security, work visas, protections for immigrant workers, and a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living and working in the U.S. A similar comprehensive immigration reform bill was introduced in the House in October, but has yet to come before the body for a vote.
Virginia Organizing Fredericksburg Chapter member Apolinar Dominguez believes comprehensive immigration reform is an urgent issue and wants Congress to act. “For me, comprehensive immigration reform is important because there are so many people coming here to work hard—people like me who pay their taxes and are just looking for opportunity,” said Dominguez.
Dominguez also believes the current system is broken. “Congress needs to act now because the current system is too hard for people like me. I love this country and I want just an opportunity to provide for my family. Please Speaker Boehner, pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.”
Recent polling shows that 70 percent of Virginians support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship—a number consistent with polling in other parts of the U.S.
Virginia Organizing released a report on Tuesday showing the economic costs of delaying immigration reform. Virginia stands to lose $82.3 million in Gross State Product (GSP) and 916 jobs each month the House of Representatives obstructs immigration reform.
“This is not the way to govern. The people support comprehensive immigration reform, the majority of U.S. Representatives support comprehensive immigration reform, but because House leadership, including Virginia’s own House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, does not support reform, they refuse to let democracy happen,” said Cook.