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Rep. Yvette D. Clarke Joins Democrats in Condemning the HALT Act

Washington, DC- Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) joined Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and other Members of Congress in condemning the HALT (Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation) Act.  Introduced by Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), this legislation would limit President Barack Obama’s immigration enforcement powers.  Congresswoman Clarke released the following statement:

“Good morning everyone.  I would first like to thank and acknowledge Congressman Gutierrez for his strength, courage and commitment to justice for immigrants.  Whether it is through administrative action on certain immigration injustices like those affecting our Dream Act kids, or a complete overhaul of our broken immigration system through comprehensive immigration reform, Rep. Gutierrez has been a true fighter.

“I’m here today to express my deep concern over this House majority’s cruel attempts to undermine the President by any means necessary, in order to gain political points with their conservative base, even if it’s on the backs of innocent children and families.

“As the Representative of New York’s 11th Congressional District, home to thousands of immigrants from all over the world, both here legally and not, I am ashamed at the Smith bill, as it just adds salt to a festering wound.

“Our broken immigration system is a real problem, affecting real people, who like most of our ancestors, came here with the pursuit of the American Dream.

“My office has been inundated with cases of young adults who are either facing the threat of deportation, to a country they have never known nor had a choice to leave, or they are forced into an “immigration purgatory” whereby the opportunities to obtain higher education or gainful employment are curtailed by their immigrant status.

“We have service members who have volunteered to serve our country and fight overseas, while their families are being detained or deported back home.

“We have citizen children whose parents are ripped from their lives, awaiting a 10-year ban for their parents to return.  Or many have been orphaned by the senseless deportation of their parents. 

“Since Congress refuses to address our broken immigration system and take up comprehensive immigration reform, the President’s ability to address immigration injustices administratively on an individual basis, is the only hope these Dream Act kids, Service Members fighting our America’s Freedom and orphaned children have.

“That is why I implore the Democratic Caucus to stand with the President and those broken families against such shameful partisan attacks.

“Let’s put party politics and the pursuit of the White House aside, and work to address the issues that negatively affect us all.  Let’s discuss comprehensive immigration reform now.

“If we turn our backs on those law-abiding contributors to our civil society, that come to our shores embracing the American dream, labor in rebuilding our great nation, strengthen our economy, and serve honorably in our military, we turn our back on ourselves.”