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At the Supreme Court, the GOP doesn’t speak for me

Today, the Supreme Court will hear one of the most significant immigration cases in years. This case will shed light on the importance of having immigration policies that protect families, and it will shed light on the fact that no matter how our executive agencies direct priorities within our immigration system, there is no substitute for legislative reform.
 
Those are good things – as is the fact that the Court will have the opportunity to once and for all allow President Obama’s executive actions on immigration to move forward.
 
{mosads}But what is troubling is that the Supreme Court will hear an argument, an amicus brief, purporting to be on behalf of the entire House of Representatives. As a member of the House for over 17 years, as a representative of New York, and as the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, let me say unequivocally – that amicus brief, and the Republican leaders who steamrolled it through the House, do not speak for me.
 
They do not speak for me when they try to attack even the most reasonable of immigration policies – an action that mirrors those taken by previous presidents of every party since Eisenhower.
 
They do not speak for me, or for over 200 Members of Congress who filed with the Court a separate amicus brief in March that laid out the strong legal authority for these policies and that makes clear that tearing apart families is the wrong approach.
 
They do not speak for me, or for the hundreds of members – of both parties – who voted against ‎giving a group of extremist members the power to file an amicus brief under the name of the entire House of Representatives.
 
That brief takes liberty not just ‎with who it claims to represent, but with facts and logic. For example, I object to the claim that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was “designed to achieve the same result as the proposed but unenacted DREAM Act.”
 
First, it bears reminding that the DREAM Act remains “unenacted” only because Republicans blocked it from moving in the Senate after I and 215 members from both parties voted to pass the legislation out of the House in 2010.
 
But while it’s refreshing to see Republicans finally admit that they failed to do their job of passing not just comprehensive immigration reform, despite having several bipartisan options for a path forward, but even narrow, targeted bills that had broad support, their brief seems to lack an understanding of the difference between a temporary, limited relief from the threat of deportation and the path to citizenship that only real, legislative reform would bring.
 
The President’s executive actions were never designed to replace what Congress can (and should) do. I have met many DACA recipients, who say that yes, DACA has opened up many doors and provided them some peace of mind. But it is nothing like the permanent solution they (and we, as a nation) desperately need. Unlike lawful permanent residence, DACA is discretionary, temporary, and – apparently – always under attack. It’s hard for these individuals to plan 5 or 10 years into the future without a solid foundation on which to build. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle should spend less time on vanity projects like that amicus brief, and more time on giving children and families the certainty and the respect that would come from passing true immigration reform.
 
I am the son and grandson of immigrants. When my family came here from Ireland, I know they dreamed of great things for me. Perhaps they couldn’t have imagined I would someday be a Member of Congress, but it is the great honor of my life.
 
For this reason, I take my role as a Member of Congress very seriously, and what I put my name on – and what I stand behind – means a great deal to me. When the Supreme Court hears the case of United States v. Texas this week, I want them to know that even though one amicus brief might say House of Representatives on it, it doesn’t speak for me.


Rep. Crowley is Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus

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