We’re not even three weeks into the 114th Congress and the U.S. House of Representatives has already passed two measures aimed at deporting millions of immigrant workers and children.
The amendments, which are tucked away in a spending bill (H.R. 240) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), would 1) roll back President Obama’s November 2014 executive order that halted deportation and offered work permits for four million undocumented immigrants, and 2) eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides similar protections for Dreamers (i.e., undocumented immigrants who entered the country before age 16 and have lived continuously in the United States for at least five years).
These bills would be detrimental to millions of immigrant women who are vital members of our workforce, as well as immigrant families and communities. As workers, taxpayers, and caregivers, immigrant women play a key role in our nation and our economy. They are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and central to the health and success of families. The measures would not only tear millions of families apart through the threat of deportation, but also allow employers to continue to exploit undocumented workers who are particularly vulnerable discrimination and wage theft, as well as retaliation if they speak up against workplace abuse.
In his State of the Union address, the President threatened to veto any bill that defunds or kills either immigration executive action, but hopefully it won’t get to that point. The Senate now has the opportunity to stand up for immigrant workers and their families and thwart attempts, as Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) put it, to target “millions of families who work hard, contribute to our communities and are just trying to give their children a chance at the American dream.”