By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
There’s still time to receive a passing score
As our nation’s schoolchildren prepare for summer and parents anxiously await that final report card, many of our elected leaders in Congress will begin their summer break with less-than-stellar scores of their own, particularly on the issue of immigration reform. I would go so far as to say that if some of them performed this way in school, there would be no choice but to fail them.
Today I was joined by esteemed colleagues from some of the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and voter engagement groups to issue a score card (also below) measures how individual members in the House of Representatives have performed on immigration reform. These scores clearly demonstrate a pattern: House Republicans are failing miserably on delivering immigration reform. What’s most frustrating is that all the data, numbers, and studies point to just how beneficial reform would be for their districts and the nation. They’ve chosen to ignore the fact that reform would reduce the deficit and restore law and order to our broken immigration system. Further, estimates show that it would create an average of 14,000 jobs per each congressional district across the nation.
Immigration reform also makes sense politically. The vast majority of the American public across the political and geographic spectrum, from farmlands to Silicon Valley, are united on this issue. By passing immigration reform, Republicans could begin to build a new relationship with Latinos, an important and burgeoning political constituency that could play a decisive role in elections across the country. The Latino community is looking closely at how they will respond to a real humanitarian crisis that a lack of reform has heaped upon hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of families. That crisis needs attention from House Republicans; they need to be part of the solution, or end up owning the problem.
Today, it is important for us to make clear that their political choices have consequences, but there is still time to reverse the damage they are inflicting with their inaction; there is still time to improve their score. Not doing so will ultimately relegate them to the bottom of the class with Latino voters, a position that will almost guarantee they will never graduate to the White House.