Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District spoke at a press conference with House Democratic leaders calling for action on comprehensive immigration reform. Below are Luján’s remarks as prepared.
“I join my colleagues in expressing my thoughts and prayers to the people of France. As we gather this morning to have a conversation on comprehensive immigration reform in the United States, we have to make sure that we work together. Democrats are willing to work with our Republican colleagues to have a thoughtful debate and to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“Yet while we have a new Speaker, we’re still hearing the same old, tired excuses. We still have a Speaker who is unable or unwilling to stand up to the Freedom Caucus – the most conservative arm of the Congress – to even allow for debate on comprehensive immigration reform. Republicans, from the House and Senate to their presidential candidates, continue to alienate Latino voters through their ultra conservative position on comprehensive immigration reform.
“Because Republicans in the House have refused to address this important issue, President Obama took action, just as every President since Eisenhower has done, including President Reagan and both President Bushes. I am hopeful the Supreme Court will review the case regarding President Obama’s executive action quickly. Every day that goes by, people who have been part of our communities for years – contributing to the economy and paying taxes – continue to live in fear of families being split up.
“Senator Rubio said doing nothing was de facto amnesty, yet that is exactly what House Republicans have been doing. Time and again when House Republicans have had an opportunity to support comprehensive immigration reform, to support Dreamers, they have voted against them every time on the House floor.
“House Republicans have been better at coming up with excuses than coming up with solutions. It is long past time for House Republican leaders to allow a vote and debate on comprehensive immigration reform.”