Thursday, June 28, 2007
Statement of SEIU Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina
Senate Republicans Fail America on Immigration
WASHINGTON, DC – This afternoon, the Senate’s minority Republicans and the Bush White House could not deliver the votes necessary to advance the immigration reform bill. Their inaction forces Americans to accept an intolerable status quo and threatens any real possibility to overhaul our nation’s immigration system in this Congress.
We are extremely disappointed with today’s Senate vote on immigration reform. It was a vote against America’s character, values, and best interests. The vote reaffirms that Senate Republicans are deeply out of touch with the American majority. Despite being the primary bill drafters, the fact that so few Republicans voted to proceed demonstrates that politics—not good public policy— ruled the day. They have failed their own principles, immigrants, and the country as whole.
We know that the Senate bill was imperfect and that creating a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system is hard work. But the choice by Senate Republicans to do nothing inflicts a much greater cost on America. They have abandoned their responsibility to the American people, and they have turned their backs on millions of immigrants. They have sent immigrants an unmistakable message: you are not welcome in our big tent. We will not forget.
The price of the Bush Administration and Senate’s failure means more people dying in the desert. It means more work place raids and families separated. It means that wages and benefits will continue to decline as bottom feeding employers use immigration status as a tool to increase profits. It means more public anger, and it means more punitive state and local laws that target immigrants.
Republican leaders have failed to accept the results of 2006 elections that saw anti-immigrant candidates defeated. This Republican minority is set upon passing restrictionist measures that offer no solutions and divide America. They are determined to erase our proud history as a nation of immigrants in exchange for petty political gains.
Our leaders have the potential to restore the rule of law, improve our security, protect our workers, strengthen our economy, and bring us back in line with our most cherished values. It may take longer than anyone would want, but whether it’s tomorrow, next week, or next year, we will not give up until our leaders fix this broken immigration system once and for all.