Fund Homeland Security, Then Pass Immigration Reform: Top 10 Quotes

Digital Communications Manager

February 28, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In recent months a host of voices, including Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, have called on Congress to fund DHS, then move beyond political posturing on immigration and engage in a constructive debate.

Their sentiments are especially timely following Friday night’s deal in Congress to pass a continuing resolution that funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an additional week, through this coming Friday.

“Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell need to fund DHS for the rest of the fiscal year. Then they need to pass real, broad immigration reform,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.

The following are a Top 10 of quotes from other leaders in recent months:

Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, and Janet Napolitano, former Homeland Security secretaries, in a January letter to Congress:
“We do not question your desire to have a larger debate about the nation’s immigration laws. However, we cannot emphasize enough that the DHS’s responsibilities are much broader than its responsibility to oversee the federal immigration agencies and to protect our borders. And funding for the entire agency should not be put in jeopardy by the debate about immigration. It is imperative that we ensure that DHS is ready, willing and able to protect the American people. To that end, we urge you not to risk funding for the operations that protect every American and to pass a clean DHS funding bill.”

Ron Teachman, Police Chief in South Bend, Ind., Feb. 23:
“We ask that Congress continue to fund DHS at this critical juncture. I am encouraged by DHS’s new Priority Enforcement Program, and I think the secretary should be allowed to execute his plan. I believe it will make for a safer country. The apparently random, non-strategic removal processes of the past had a destabilizing effect on communities and families, both of which are counterproductive to our homeland security. Furthermore, a shutdown would cut state and local law enforcement access to grants and other necessary resources to keep our nation and communities safe.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-NV, Jan. 22:
“It’s incredibly frustrating to absorb, continue to absorb, the whacks on doing nothing on the issue [of immigration]. I’m just tired of defending nothing, I can’t defend nothing.”

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-CO, Jan. 14:
“My party needs to stop just saying what we are against and start saying what we are for when it comes to fixing our broken immigration system … Moving forward, immigration reform should be about securing our borders, growing our economy and keeping families together.”

Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General, Dec. 5:
“This is a very consistent message, and it began five or six years ago, borne of frustration in the inaction from Congress. Everyone knows that our current immigration system is broken. Very few would argue that it’s a good system. The only solution is for Congress to come together and do the hard work of legislating, and that’s what we call on them to do today.”

Jeff Wasden, President, Colorado Business Roundtable, Jan. 28:
“People coming from different angles, from different backgrounds, from different viewpoints all understand how immigration impacts society, our culture, our communities. Something needs to get done. Let’s see if we can implore our new Congress actually to act on immigration reform in a manner that supports families, supports businesses, supports economies, that keeps our communities safe.”

Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference/CONELA, Nov. 20:
“As an organization committed to both Christian compassion and the rule of law, we call upon Congress and President Obama to immediately work together in passing legislation that will permanently secure our borders, protect our values and facilitate a platform upon which once again we can shine as a ‘city upon a hill.’”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Feb. 23:
“We’re tired of being used for political gain. We know the new deferred action programs will help our communities. Already, DACA has helped hundreds of thousands of young people contribute to our country. Holding Homeland Security funding hostage in the name of attacking these programs is irresponsible and short-sighted.”

Stan Marek, President and CEO of the Marek Family of Companies, a Houston-based construction firm, Feb. 23:
“One day, Congress will have the courage to pass an immigration bill. That would eliminate the need for an executive order. Until that day comes, the president’s plan is the most pragmatic way to begin to solve our immigration problem. Rather than attack it and put funding for the Department of Homeland Security at risk, Congress should pass a clean funding bill.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Nov. 24:
“Shame on us as Republicans for having a body that cannot generate a solution to an issue that’s national security, that’s cultural, that’s economic.”