Today, Rep. Barbara Lee joined a press conference and released the following statement on HR 2278, the "Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act" :
"Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you today.
"Thank you to my colleague, Congressman Luis Guitierrez: your leadership on this issue has been truly incredible. Thank you to the Dreamers for joining us and to all the advocacy groups who are here today, for fighting alongside us.
"This immigration bill is nothing short of disaster and a political ploy.
"In fact, this shouldn't even be called an "immigration bill," HR 2278, The Strengthen And Fortify Enforcement Act, or SAFE Act, is a "deportation bill,' not an immigration bill!
"Congress should join in with the communities all across the country that have rejected this kind of vigilante enforcement system, and we're here to reject it again today. Local law enforcement agents are not immigration agents, and they cannot continue to act like it!
"Sheriff's departments in communities across the country have been caught violating the constitution, including racial profiling and unlawfully detaining and arresting Latinos.
"History has shown that law enforcement becomes less effective when local authorities lose the trust and support of the community they serve -- that is exactly what will happen if this legislation is passed.
"Our immigration system is broken; it needs to be fixed, but not in a piecemeal approach like this.
"If Republicans are serious about fixing our immigration system, they need to join us for comprehensive immigration reform and accept that Americans do not agree with their agenda of self deportation.
"We need a system that keeps families together, that ensures that our communities are safe, and provides a pathway to citizenship. It can be done, and we can see it through.
"Let's reject this bill and get back to work on comprehensive immigration reform.
"Thank you again to Congressman Gutierrez for bringing us together today, and thank all of you for being here."