Harlem’s Espaillat Leads Democratic Members To Introduce Immigration Package

Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), joined by Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01),

Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) introduced a critical legislative package to protect immigrant rights.

“My colleagues and I are re-introducing this series of bills, a legislative package that will protect immigrants, immigrant families, and uphold the promises of the American dream,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “Simply put, this legislative package puts forth policies to correct the atrocities we witnessed during the previous administration. We urge President Biden to consider our legislative package as his administration prioritzes keeping families together and rolling out the framework on which we will build to finally realize comprehensive immigration reform once and for all.”

“For four years immigrant families have borne the brunt of racist and nativist policies that betrayed America’s values,” said Congressman Don Beyer. “I witnessed the pain and suffering those polices caused, from tearful fathers whose children were torn away from them, to young children in my district whose mother was deported for driving with a broken tail light. I stood with community leaders who were outraged by ICE shakedowns at a hypothermia shelter in a place of worship, a violation of standing policy. This legislation would finally help restore humane immigration policies after four years of abuses and human rights violations.”

“We must remedy the terrible harm the previous administration caused to immigrants and mixed-status families, who are invaluable members of our community,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “This package of legislation places needed checks on the tactics and conduct of ICE. Importantly, the legislation will expedite the reunion of children and families who were torn apart by Trump’s shameful and unjust family separation policy. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get these measures signed into law by President Biden.”

“Everyone, including immigrants in Chicago and across the country, deserves to feel safe when they go to school, see a doctor, practice their faith, or mourn the loss of loved ones. Instead, families live in constant fear of deportation. This legislative package will overturn some of Trump’s most egregious immigration enforcement tactics, including the practice of family separation,” said Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García. “The legislation also increases oversight of the Department of Homeland Security and holds ICE and CBP agents accountable by requiring the use of body cameras. In order to move forward, we must right our country’s past wrongs and ensure the rights of immigrants are protected.”

“As America begins a new presidential administration, we need to finally leave our country’s long xenophobic history of criminalizing immigration and separating families behind,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “As one of only 14 naturalized citizens serving in Congress, I am proud to help introduce this legislative package as we work to reunite every family who has been cruelly torn apart, dramatically increase accountability and oversight measures, and stop ICE from terrorizing immigrants, our families, and our communities.”

The bills, which were first introduced in 2017 and 2018, seek to prevent a number of the most egregious immigration enforcement tactics witnessed during the Trump Administration and protect the rights of immigrants so no future administration can repeat these horrible actions.

One of the bills, the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, will prohibit immigration enforcement in certain “sensitive locations” such as courthouses, schools, community centers and houses of worship, a tactic for targeting vulnerable immigrant communities that was common under the Trump Administration.

Another measure, the Reunite Every Unaccompanied Newborn Infant Toddler and Other Children Expeditiously (REUNITE) Act, would require the immediate reunification of children who were separated from their parent or legal guardian as a result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

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Finally, the ICE and CBP Body Camera Accountability Act would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol officers to wear body cameras and would make footage available for any legal proceedings.

The proposals have been endorsed by a number of leading advocacy groups outlined below:

Endorsements

Protecting Sensitive Locations Act: Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network, Casa San Jose, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Church World Service, Coalition on Human Needs (CHN), Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces, Farmworker Justice, Franciscan Action Network, Hispanic Federation, Lawyers for Children, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), The Legal Aid Society (New York), Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, National Council of Jewish Women, National Education Association, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Human Services Assembly, National Immigration Law Center, National WIC Association, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, New York Immigration Coalition, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

REUNITE Act: Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), Casa San Jose, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Church World Service, Coalition on Human Needs (CHN), Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces, Farmworker Justice, Franciscan Action Network, Hispanic Federation, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), The Legal Aid Society (New York), Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, National Council of Jewish Women, National Education Association, National Human Services Assembly, National Immigration Law Center, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, New York Immigration Coalition, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

ICE and CBP Body Camera Accountability Act: California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), Casa San Jose, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Church World Service, Coalition on Human Needs (CHN), Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces, Farmworker Justice, Franciscan Action Network, Hispanic Federation, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), The Legal Aid Society (New York), Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Human Services Assembly, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, New York Immigration Coalition

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the north-west Bronx. First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities. He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip. Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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