M. Chair, H.R. 3697 is yet another exercise in false advertising by the Majority. Named the “Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act,” this legislation is so overbroad that it would lead to the deportation of immigrants with absolutely no criminal record and would apply to individuals with no connection to gangs.
In short, this blatantly anti-immigrant legislation casts a wide and dangerous net in furtherance of President Trump’s mass deportation agenda. I say this for several reasons.
To begin with, H.R. 3967 authorizes the Trump Administration to brand a group of immigrants a “gang” without requiring a conviction or even an arrest.
In fact, it would allow individuals to be deported or denied admission based on a mere “belief” –however tenuous – of their connection to unlawful activity.
In addition, the bill’s definition of a “gang” is so broad that it would apply to individuals who clearly are not members of criminal gangs.
I doubt that my Republican colleagues really believe that 5 Christian ministers providing shelter to undocumented immigrants constitute a criminal gang.
But by voting for this measure, that’s precisely what lawmakers would turn them into. The bill instantly places such religious workers throughout America –from nuns to rabbis, imams to priests – into the same classification as MS-13.
Finally, we are rushing this deeply flawed legislation through the House today while nearly 800,000 young people – 800,000 law abiding members of our communities – are facing deportation in as little as 6 months.
These are young people who are as American as any of us. They have grown up in our communities, attended our schools, and have become our neighbors, our teachers, first responders, doctors, and lawyers. But because of action taken by President Trump last week, they now are living in fear and uncertainty.
There is a bipartisan bill with overwhelming support across the country that would allow these young people to remain in the United States – the only home most have ever known – and continue contributing to our communities and our economy.
But that bill, the DREAM Act, has languished for years.
But, instead of taking up the DREAM Act, we are rushing H.R. 3697 through just days after it was introduced and without any hearings, markups, or the opportunity for amendment.
This House should stop jamming through pieces of the Trump mass deportation plan and instead recommit itself to lifting up the young people of our communities by passing the DREAM act.
It is what's right for our economy, our Nation and it is our moral responsibility.
I urge my colleagues to oppose H.R. 3697 and I reserve the balance of my time.