Comprehensive Immigration Reformby Representative Joaquin Castro
Posted on 2013-07-17
CASTRO of Texas. Well, Congressman, thank you for that question,
and thank you for your work on this issue.
Madam Speaker, in the Senate bill that was passed recently, there is relief for students known as DREAMers, those who were brought here as young kids through no fault of their own and through no choice, and now find themselves undocumented, with no way, oftentimes, to go to college or to pursue their career dreams. These are folks who are literally in a kind of limbo.
And so what we should do is offer them a path to citizenship to allow them to become American citizens. This country is, after all, for the overwhelming majority of them, the only country they've ever called home. It's the only place they know as home; and this is an issue, I think, that tugs at the conscience of Americans.
And most polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support a path to citizenship for DREAM Act students.
So I hope, Congressman Cardenas, that what we can do in the House of Representatives is follow the example of the Senate, work in a bipartisan manner, and offer relief for these DREAM Act students who are caught in limbo, who, through no fault of their own, are here in the United States of America, who call our country home, who are proud to be Americans, and who deserve a chance to become full-fledged citizens.
I would also point out, you know, as I said before, that there are very compelling moral and economic reasons to support comprehensive reform.
I represent San Antonio, Texas, here in Congress. And of all the States in the Nation, I believe that Texas has the most to gain or lose by what happens on this issue. The reason I say that is that we have the longest border with Mexico, for example, 1,200 miles.
We do the most trade with Latin America, and there are four or five major American industries and Texas industries, everything from the high-tech industry in Austin, just as you have one in California in Silicon Valley, to the agricultural industry, the construction industry, the hospitality industry. These major American industries literally would not exist the way they do but for immigrant labor.
And I want to give you the best example of that. The agricultural industry self-reports that 50 percent of its workers are undocumented. And so when States like Alabama and Georgia pass laws that essentially led immigrants to flee those States, their agricultural industries paid a very steep [[Page H4585]] price. So those are the stakes that we're dealing with on this issue.
I am hoping that House Republicans will join Democrats who have been pushing for comprehensive reform for quite some time now, join us in coming to a solution that does more than just incite fear or scare people, and actually tries to resolve this issue in a pragmatic way for the Nation.