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Marc V.
Democrat TX 33

About Rep. Marc
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    by Representative Marc A. Veasey

    Posted on 2013-09-18

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    VEASEY. Absolutely.

    Mr. CARDENAS. Why don't you tell us a little bit about what being a citizen is like and what it means to you and the folks in your district, many of whom protect and defend our great Nation.

    Mr. VEASEY. Congressman Cardenas, I thank you very much for doing this. I would like to thank my friend from the Golden State of California for leading this important discussion. I'm also very proud that this is a very diverse group that is here today to talk about the importance of citizenship and diversity.

    As it was pointed out a minute ago by Steny Hoyer, our whip, he talked about his background and him being a first-generation American. So many of the contributions and so many of the things that make America what it is today is because of immigrants. This discussion is very important. And Congressman Hoyer is right; we need to [[Page H5643]] pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill because it's the right thing to do.

    When you talk about the growth and you look at the gross domestic product, U.S. personal income, I can tell you in my own personal State of Texas what immigrants mean to our vibrant economy. We have so many people that are moving to our State every day. And much of that success that we are experiencing in Texas, the Lone Star State, particularly in Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, is because of immigrant growth.

    This week we celebrate 226 years since the U.S. Constitutional Convention was signed into law. Since that time, America's Constitution has been seen as the backbone for the rights and freedoms of all U.S. citizens. The U.S. Constitution is the epitome of what it means to be an American citizen in our country. September 17, the day it was adopted, is a day to celebrate what this document means for those who have become or who aspire to be U.S. citizens.

    Throughout our Nation's history, immigrants have embraced the spirit of liberty, justice, and equality for all. These were the same principles that guided the Framers of the Constitution as they built a stronger republic. The Founding Fathers felt that the people who immigrated and spent years building lives in this country deserved citizenship. We should have that same spirit today in this body.

    They were keenly aware that making new immigrants wait a long time for citizenship denied them the very rights that Americans had just fought to claim for themselves. By guaranteeing a uniform rule of naturalization, the Constitution presupposes an immigrant nation. Let's join the Framers by pledging to support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America.

    Each year during Citizenship Day, we recognize the newest members of the American family as they pledge allegiance to our Constitution in naturalization ceremonies across our great country. This week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will welcome over 18,000 new U.S. citizens during more than 180 naturalization ceremonies hailed across the country.

    As thousands take their first step towards the American Dream, we must all recognize the obstacles that still exist for so many others who long to contribute to the next chapter of America's story. The steps toward becoming a citizen are riddled with difficult, confusing, and very expensive hurdles. In addition to the cost and bureaucracy, there are also some individuals in the community preying on immigrants, taking their money and telling them they are guaranteed citizenship.

    Our national, economic, social, and cultural vibrancy are the direct result of labor and efforts of generations of immigrants. According to the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California, income rises an average of 8 to 11 percent when immigrants become citizens.

    Delaying and ignoring real problems in our broken immigration system for political purposes has not brought solutions; it has only brought heartache for the many families who wish to assimilate and make America stronger.

    In the spirit of Citizenship Day, I stand with my colleagues to recognize the many benefits that immigrants bring to the United States of America.

    Mrs. Velasquez-Acosta came to this country from El Salvador and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Now her son Sam works in the office of a Member of the United States House of Representatives. In fact, he serves the constituents of the 33rd Congressional District in the congressional office that I represent. He is truly a living person that can tell you the benefits of immigration--he and his family.

    I believe that there is a level of optimism because I see it in Sam and I see it in so many others who reside in the 33rd Congressional District, the level of optimism that immigrants have historically brought to this country and to our State. When you bring new people into the American family, you energize and get others involved.

    {time} 2015 We must focus on the urgency of helping the almost 9 million legal permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship in this country. We must help them take those final steps toward the American Dream so they can fully become a part of the Democratic process. That's what it's all about.

    Today, we must rededicate ourselves to pass comprehensive immigration reform. This fair, commonsense system would include a pathway to citizenship for those here now, a family reunification system, and a market-based structure that meets legitimate labor needs, protecting both the interest of American workers and industry.

    As a nation of immigrants, let us celebrate the long line of aspiring citizens who have had a positive impact on our history. Immigrants have enriched our character, contributed to our economy by founding businesses and creating jobs, and have sacrificed their livelihoods so that they could defend our freedoms and secure a brighter future for our children.

    The men who signed our Constitution 226 years ago--226 years ago-- envisioned the United States as a land of opportunity. Today, as legislators, we are charged with building on that same vision, and our Nation will be stronger for it.

    I thank my friend from California for using this time to talk about something that is so important to our country. We can no longer wait. The time is now.

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