Leahy Reminds Congress That Immigration Executive Action Is ‘No Substitute For Legislation’

. . . Cites 511 Days Of House Inaction

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Nov. 20, 2014) – In a Senate floor statement Thursday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the President’s expected action on immigration is necessary, but noted that the move is not a replacement for legislation like the bill he steered to passage in the Senate last year.

The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill with a bipartisan vote last year, but the House has failed to take up that measure or any other to address the nation’s broken immigration system. Leahy said the President’s action will provide temporary relief to some of the nation’s 11 million immigrants, but that it “is no substitute for legislation.”

“Our system will not fix itself, and it should be no surprise that the President has decided to use his authority to make our country safer, stronger, and more humane.  If Republicans really, truly want congressional action on reforms, they can take action, right now, today, and simply allow a vote on the Senate-passed bill,” Leahy said.

As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Leahy steered the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act through the Senate last year. The Committee held six hearings and debated the legislation for more than three weeks, considering over 200 amendments and reporting the legislation to the Senate on a bipartisan vote. The bill was approved by the full Senate on June 27 of last year, earning the support of 68 Democratic and Republican Senators.

Leahy has called on the House to take up and pass the Senate bill. He has also urged the administration to ensure the physical safety and due process rights of women and children seeking asylum in the United States. In his floor statement Thursday, Leahy reminded lawmakers of the very real consequences the nation’s broken immigration system has on countless families.

“Next week, millions of families in this country will gather around a table to give thanks for the many blessings they have received,” Leahy said.  “The President’s actions will be counted among them for the millions of loved ones who worry that their mother, father or grandparent could be deported at any moment.  The security that the President’s action will give to these families is powerful and indispensable.” 

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