House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Border Caucus members Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva, Filemon Vela and Beto O'Rourke today called for a greater focus on border community needs in Congress' ongoing immigration reform efforts and highlighted bipartisan solutions that could be included in any reform bill.
The group spoke at a press conference earlier today at the U.S. Capitol. High-quality video of the event is at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/DemocratsonI.
"Democrats are committed to immigration reform that is comprehensive, that represents a reasonable compromise for both parties, and that affords all immigrants a fair shot at the American Dream," Leader Pelosi said. "We remain committed to sensible, bipartisan solutions to secure our border and to ensure growth and opportunity among our border communities -- all as part of commonsense reform that reaffirms our values and honors our tradition as a nation of immigrants."
"Preventing needless human suffering shouldn't be a political issue, and there are several bipartisan humanitarian solutions on the table that deserve more consideration," said Rep. Grijalva, who co-chairs the Border Caucus. "Any successful immigration reform bill will reduce deaths in our Southwestern desert region, provide meaningful oversight of law enforcement practices, and make sure the border remains as safe a place to raise a family as it is today. There are ways Democrats and Republicans can work together to achieve those goals, and I look forward to making sure it happens."
"The United States, Mexico, and Canada form the world's largest free trade area, with about one-third of the world's total gross domestic product (GDP). Trade between the US and Mexico has more than tripled since 1994," Rep. Vela said. "As co-chair of the Border Caucus, I firmly believe that any comprehensive immigration reform bill must recognize this economic and cultural unity. Instead of mandating the construction of additional barriers, we should invest in boosting our trade relationship, which will create more jobs and improve the American economy."
"We need comprehensive immigration reform that is humane, rational, and fiscally responsible," Rep. O'Rourke said. "The border should be viewed as an opportunity, not a threat. More than five hundred billion dollars worth of trade crosses our ports of entry every year and that helps support six million jobs nationwide. Rather than militarize our border against a threat that does not exist, we should realize our full economic potential and invest those resources to improve and modernize our ports of entry. If we focus on the positive aspects the border has to offer, we have the very real possibility of crafting legislation that will grow our economy and create jobs."
The 12-member Congressional Border Caucus includes representatives from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and advocates for the needs and interests of border communities.