Hundreds of immigrant families and allies stormed into the offices of nearly 40 Republican members of Congress on Wednesday to demand that they stop trying to block President Obamas executive actions on immigration.
Republicans in Congress are trying to pass a bill that would provide funding for the Department of Homeland Security while gutting the presidents immigration policies, including those that would protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. House Republicans approved the bill in January but it stalled in the Senate thanks to efforts by Democrats to block it from moving forward.
Immigration advocates said they see these efforts by Republicans to try to rollback Obamas executive actions on immigration as an attack on immigrant families.
These anti-immigrant attacks may be nothing but political theater for Republicans, but if enacted, they would undermine reform and tear millions of families apart, said Kica Matos, a spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). The Presidents recent action on immigration is good for our families and good for America. Congress must stop politicizing an issue that directly affects millions of hardworking families.
FIRM organized the office visits along with several other groups, including CASA de Maryland, Church World Service, and the SEIU.
According to the groups, about 300 immigrant families and supporters visited the offices of Republicans, like House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
They also visited the offices of several Republicans who are considering running for president in 2016, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Republicans have engaged in ceaseless attacks on hardworking immigrant families, said Gustavo Torres, president of CASA de Maryland. When our children vote in 2016 they will not forget the party that sought to destroy their parents.
Republicans argue Obama overstepped his authority when he issued a series of executive actions to grant deportation reprieve and work authorization to millions of undocumented immigrants, including the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
Shortly after Obama announced his executive actions in November, GOP leaders vowed to fight tooth-and-nail to stop the actions from being implemented. A few weeks later, they introduced a DHS funding bill that includes amendments to prohibit the Obama administration from using any funds to implement his immigration executive actions. Theres also an amendment to cut off funding for an existing deferred action program that Obama announced in 2012 for undocumented young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
Boehner insisted on Wednesday that the House did its job by passing the DHS funding bill with the attached amendments. He called on the Senate to do the same.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are struggling to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster and advance the House-passed DHS funding bill. McConnell and other Republican senators have called on House Republicans to pass another bill that can get through the Senate.
Rev. Noel Andersen of Church World Service was among the dozens of faith leaders who visited congressional offices on Wednesday. He implored McConnell to push for a clean DHS funding bill.
We are inside Sen. Mitch McConnells office to tell him that the faith community and immigrants stand side-by-side in our nation, Andersen said in a statement. Sen. McConnell has the responsibility to govern and bring our nation forward.