A picture of Representative Marcia L. Fudge
Marcia F.
Democrat OH 11

About Rep. Marcia
  • Cbc Hour: Immigration Reform

    by Representative Marcia L. Fudge

    Posted on 2013-02-04

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    FUDGE. I thank you so very much. It is indeed a pleasure for me to be with these young gentlemen here today. I want to thank the gentleman from New York, and I look forward to his leadership as he anchors this hour for the 113th Congress, and I'm certain that other members of his class will be joining him on a regular basis.

    Mr. Speaker, with that I thank him again. This is a lot of work, which you know, to come down to this floor every week and talk about issues of importance to our Nation. So I thank you.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to lend my voice to those of my colleagues on the importance of comprehensive immigration reform.

    The United States is a Nation of immigrants. Most Americans trace their lineage beyond our borders. The promise of the American Dream is what brings people from all corners of the world to this Nation. This country was founded on the principle that here lies the land of opportunity, and that anyone can achieve success through hard work.

    But for the millions of undocumented immigrants of Hispanic, Asian, and African descent living in America today, the American Dream is just a promise, a promise they hope their children may one day realize.

    Many immigrants are confronted with the same harsh realities that plague communities of color every day, namely, racial profiling based on unreasonable suspicion, systematic criminalization in order to fill private prisons, economic injustice that holds many in the bondage of poverty--all examples of pitfalls that unfairly, yet intentionally, trap, uproot and destroy far too many individuals and families.

    Children in immigrant families also continue to struggle. According to the Pew Research Center, there are an estimated 1 million unauthorized immigrants under the age of 18 in the United States, and as many as 4.5 million U.S.-born children whose parents are unauthorized. These children live in fear.

    Every year, nearly 200,000 non-citizens, many with children who are U.S. citizens, are deported and torn away from their families.

    {time} 2020 As families are torn apart, children are forced to choose between separation from their parent or leaving the only place they've ever called home.

    How does America end the culture of fear among immigrant communities and help preserve families? First, we must create a pathway to citizenship that encourages, not discourages, legalization. Second, we must address the issues of mass detention and unjust criminality of immigrant populations. Third, our laws and justice system must place a premium on keeping families together. By creating flexible and equitable immigration policies that prioritize the unification and stability of immigrant families, we strengthen the fabric that holds our communities together.

    Lastly, as a former mayor, I would be remiss if I did not mention the important role our States and local governments will play in immigration reform. As undocumented immigrants come out of the shadows of society, our State and our local governments will need our support more than ever. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said: History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

    Today, we are in a period of social transition. As the ``conscience of the United States Congress,'' the CBC cannot and will not stand by in silence. When history is recounted, the record will reflect the stance that the CBC took in supporting comprehensive immigration reform--reform that not only includes individuals of Hispanic and Asian descent, but also thousands of immigrants from within the African diaspora, and reform that dignifies the struggles of the undocumented and reconnects broken family bonds.

    I urge my colleagues to unite behind comprehensive immigration reform.

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