A preliminary score card issued Wednesday by national Latino organizations shows the majority of House members are failing the Latino community on the issue of immigration reform.
Leaders from these organizations disclosed the score card ratings for all 435 House members during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. The results show that 219 members received a failing score of 59 percent, while 169 members got a perfect score of 100 percent. As a whole, House members averaged a score of 77 percent.
This preliminary score card shows that most in Congress are clearly failing us on immigration right now, said Hector Sanchez, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).
Sanchezs group is one of the Latino organizations that are behind the score card. The other groups involved are the Hispanic Federation, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Voto Latino.
The scores were tallied based on how House members voted on recent immigration-related bills, like an amendment to defund the Obama administrations deferred action program that provides undocumented youth with deportation relief and work authorization.
The scores were also tallied based on how House members responded to the immigration reform bill, known as H.R. 15, that House Democrats introduced last October. House members were graded on whether they co-sponsored the bill or signed a discharge petition to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote.
Wednesdays release of the score card results came a day after President Barack Obama directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Jonhson to hold off on completing a review of the administrations deportation policies until the end of the summer. A White House official said the move was made to give the House space to fix the broken immigration system, and to deny the Republicans any excuse for further inaction.
Score card serves as wake-up call on immigration reform
The Latin leaders told reporters on Wednesday that the score card should serve as a reminder to House members that Latinos are closely monitoring what legislative actions they take on immigration reform.
It should serve as a wake-up call to those members of Congress who are not helping to advance the cause of just and pragmatic reform, said Jose Calderon, president of the Hispanic Federation. Failure in leadership on immigration will certainly not go unnoticed by our community.
Currently, efforts to pass immigration reform legislation in the Republican-controlled House are at a standstill. Calderon and other Latino leaders on Wednesdays call with reporters contended that Republicans bear most of the blame for the standstill.
They also said that as the midterm elections near, they plan to use the score card results to show Latino voters where House members stand on immigration reform so that they can see which members are obstructing efforts to pass legislation.
Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, said members of his group are already preparing to show the score card as they begin walking through neighborhoods to encourage Latinos to vote.
The score card should remind Congress that our community does not forget those who turn their backs on us, Monterroso said. Congress is sadly mistaken if it thinks it can ignore the Latino community.
The Latino leaders also made it clear that there is still a window of opportunity for House members, mainly Republicans, to improve their scores.
Janet Murguia, president and CEO of NCLR, said House Republicans could redeem themselves by bringing up immigration reform legislation. Doing so, she said, would also help the Republican Party rebuild its relationship with Latinos, as well as put an end to the humanitarian crisis that is devastating the Latino community.
Murguia also warned that the GOP may never again graduate to the White House if House Republicans dont act on immigration reform by the end of this summer.