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Lois C.

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  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    by Representative Lois Capps

    Posted on 2013-09-18

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    CAPPS. I thank my colleague from California, Tony Cardenas. And, yes, I do have a letter that I will share, but I want to discuss the matter in general first and thank my colleague for organizing all of us to be here to address a topic that is of central importance to our State of California and the entire country.

    I join my colleagues in strong support for comprehensive immigration reform. We honor the many contributions that immigrants have made to our country during Citizenship Day this week, but we cannot forget the millions of immigrants left behind by our broken immigration system. These are the immigrants who contribute to key sectors of our economy. They are such a vital part of agriculture, housing, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, tourism, engineering, technology, and on and on.

    These are hardworking people, immigrants who often face separation from their families, lower wages, and face the fear of deportation; and this forces them to take their skills often to our competitors at great disadvantage to our own economy. We can all agree that our current immigration system is not working. It's holding back our country and our economy, and now is the time to fix it.

    While I've been traveling in my congressional district, I've heard personally from business sectors of our economy on the central coast of California that are hurt on a daily basis by this broken immigration system. There are high-tech companies in Goleta, California, frustrated by seeing many of our brightest UC Santa Barbara graduates being sent back to their native countries to work for competitive companies and countries because of a lack of high-skilled worker visas.

    I've met with growers in California's agriculture industry who are so important in my local economy, critical to our national economy, and who struggle to find a stable and a consistent workforce. This threatens the sustainability of our crops.

    I've met with workforce and labor organizations who want to ensure workers can earn fair wages and contribute to our economy and our communities. We must act now to establish a fair, but tough, pathway to citizenship to provide the security and stability our economy needs.

    [[Page H5646]] I now refer to the chart which indicates so graphically the difference between a path to legalization only and the strong advantages of that pathway to citizenship.

    Comprehensive reform would boost California's economy alone by $7.3 billion. It would create nearly 77,000 new jobs in our State of California just next year. This should be one of our Nation's top priorities.

    Mr. Speaker, I would also note for the record that while Members of my party are very enthusiastic about advancing comprehensive immigration reform, this is an issue with strong bipartisan support. For example, the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform on a strong bipartisan vote not too long ago, and just last week a number of Republican members of the California State legislature made their voices heard on this issue--and that's the letter to which you referred. They sent a letter to their Federal counterparts urging us to take action in the House. These are Republican legislators from California on comprehensive immigration reform. I would like to now submit this letter into the Record.

    This letter outlines components of comprehensive reform that most of us agree need to be included, that is, the opportunity for undocumented residents to earn their way to citizenship.

    Wisely, the California State Republican legislators wrote--and this is a quote from their letter: There is no policy debate more important to the future of California and of America than passing comprehensive immigration reform.

    I could not agree more.

    Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, it is time that we have the opportunity here on the floor of the United States House of Representatives to debate and to finally have a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Our country, our economy simply cannot wait any longer.

    Thank you for the time, my colleague from California.

    California State Republican Legislators To: California Republican Congressional Delegation: Doug LaMalfa, 1st District Tom McClintock, 4th District Paul Cook, 8th District Jeff Denham, 10th District David Valadao, 21st District Devin Nunes, 22nd District Kevin McCarthy, 23rd District Buck McKeon, 25th District Gary Miller, 31st District Ed Royce, 39th District Ken Calvert, 42nd District John Campbell, 45th District Dana Rohrabacher, 48th District Darrell Issa, 49th District Duncan Hunter, 50th District We, the undersigned California State legislative Republicans, strongly support federal comprehensive immigration reform and urge our state Republican Congressional delegation to encourage Speaker John Boehner to call a vote on immigration reform.

    Components should include thoughtful and strong border security, employer sanctions, and opportunity for undocumented residents to earn their way to full citizenship, but only behind those who have applied to become citizens through the current citizenship process.

    There is no policy debate more important to the future of California and America than passing comprehensive immigration reform. By providing legal clarity to the status of millions of people in California, we can spur an economic renaissance, solidify families, and create an entirely new population of full taxpayers, many of whom who have strong entrepreneurial and work ethics.

    We stand with the business community, the labor community, farmers, manufacturers, communities of faith, and most importantly Californians, in our call for Congress to act on reform this year to put this challenge behind us as a state and nation. We strongly urge House Republicans to demand a vote.

    While some members in Congress may not support the legislation, every member deserves the opportunity to vote. We understand that members have divergent views on reform, but this is the time to address the many serious issues immigrants and their employers face every day.

    This group of Republican legislators is asking our friends in business, labor and agriculture, who work with these immigrants in their fields, homes and factories every day to join us in asking Congressional Leaders to ``Call the Vote.'' Respectfully, Senator Anthony Cannella, SD 12; Senator Steve Knight, SD 21; Senator Bill Emmerson, SD 27; Senator Tom Berryhill, SD 14.

    Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, AD 26; Assemblymember Jeff Gorell, AD 44; Assemblymember Kristin Olsen, AD 12; Assemblymember Rocky Chavez, AD 76; Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian, AD 35; Assemblymember Jim Patterson, AD 23; Assemblymember Allan Mansoor, AD 74; Assemblymember Don Wagner, AD 68; Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, AD 77; Assemblymember Eric Linder, AD 60; Assemblymember Brian Dahle, AD 1.

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