At a roundtable discussion regarding immigration, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene called for Congress to find a more permanent solution that would “keep families together.”
Following the Supreme Court’s tie vote halting President Obama’s immigration plan to safeguard millions from deportation, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene on Wednesday called on Congress to look for a more permanent solution.
OneAmerica, an immigrant-advocacy group, organized a roundtable discussion Wednesday at El Centro de la Raza in Beacon Hill, and featured DelBene along with Jorge Barón, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project; Estela Ortega, executive director of El Centro de la Raza; and Jane Gonzalez and Andres Macedo, two people who could have benefitted from the high-court’s voting in favor of Obama’s executive order. The talk was moderated by Rich Stolz, executive director of OneAmerica.
Though panelists said the Supreme Court’s tie vote was disappointing, DelBene, D-Medina, said a decision in favor of reform would have been only a temporary fix to a problem that needs a permanent solution. She said that there’s “zero chance” of movement on immigration reform in this Congress, but has hope for next year’s.
DelBene, who is running for re-election, said that comprehensive reform is “critically important.”
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“We really need to create a new foundation that keeps families together, that makes sure that young people have an opportunity to give back and stay in the country they’ve known as their home,” she said.
The Supreme Court’s 4-4 vote put a stop to Obama’s executive order that would have both given protection to parents whose children are in the U.S. legally and an expansion of the program that benefits people brought into the country illegally as children. The high court’s decision effectively killed the plan for the rest of the president’s term.
The speakers recognized that the case could be reheard but weren’t naive to the fact that this upcoming presidential cycle will determine much for immigration reform in the country and, of course, who will be appointed to a seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death earlier this year.
Barón said the hateful speech used during this year’s election process can be discouraging for civil-rights activists fighting for reform.
“The fact that very prominent people in our political discourse are using the kind of language that we see and that is really about seeking to divide us,” he said. “I think that it’s distressing.”
John Orlinski and Robert Sutherland, the Republican candidates running against DelBene, did not return a request for comment Wednesday.