Kilmer Statement on GOP Immigration Bill

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the House of Representatives voted on legislation regarding the president’s decision to separate immigrant parents from their children. The bill failed in the House 121-301. Representative Derek Kilmer made the following statement:

“Since I came to Congress I have been calling for House leadership to allow Congress to vote on a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill that would protect our border, reform a broken immigration system, and give certainty to those who have been living, working, and going to school here,” Kilmer said. “The vote tally today shows this wasn’t even close to a bipartisan compromise—more like a bipartisan rejection of the go-it-alone deal the leaders in Congress struck between the right wing and the far-right wing. There is bipartisan legislation in Congress that would actually address the real challenges around immigration and which would pass with an overwhelming majority if the leaders allowed a vote.”

According to the Cato Institute, the bill Congress voted on today denies a pathway to citizenship for 82 percent of the country’s Dreamers and allows, among other things, “draconian asylum provisions, cancelling the applications of 3 million people waiting to immigrate legally and permanent reductions in legal immigration.”

Kilmer is an original sponsor of the USA Act and a co-sponsor of the Dream Act. He has repeatedly called on House leadership to allow a vote on the bills. The USA Act is a true compromise measure introduced by Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA).

Last week, Kilmer attempted to visit with parents who have been separated from their children and are currently detained at the Northwest Detention Center. His repeated requests to meet with families were denied.

Since news broke that the Trump Administration was separating parents from their children, Kilmer has spoken out. He joined the eight Democrats in Washington’s Congressional Delegation in a sharp formal rebuke of the White House when the practice came to light.  When he learned more than 100 asylum seekers—mostly mothers—who were separated from their children were being held at a federal prison near SeaTac, he called for an immediate reunification of the families and an end to the practice. 

Kilmer co-introduced the Keep Families Together Act, which directed the government to end the practice of family separation. And, he spoke to KUOW about the president’s decision and the legislation Congress voted on today.