Editor’s Note: U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) issued the following statement after she voted on February 15 in favor of bipartisan immigration legislation sponsored by Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Angus King (I-ME) that would have put 1.8 million Dreamers on a pathway to citizenship.
Dreamers are not numbers, or charts. They’re teachers, service members and business owners in our communities. They are exemplary Americans. For decades, they’ve lived their lives under constant threat of deportation in the only country they have ever known and loved. President Trump created a crisis when he repealed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This week, the Senate once again engaged in good faith negotiations to fix this manufactured crisis. Yet in voting down this bipartisan legislation Republican leadership has now enabled this President’s xenophobic agenda.
He’s targeted our communities, using skin color and immigration status as a weapon, and tried to set neighbors against each other.
I’m not going to hide the reality of this vote. President Trump is trying to force a $25 billion border wall on the American people. He’s continuing an assault on immigrant families in Nevada, and throughout the country by ending DACA and targeting hard working families that have contributed to our communities for decades. And his Administration’s constant effort to sabotage this legislation showed that his “great heart” for Dreamers has always been a lie. He’s targeted our communities, using skin color and immigration status as a weapon, and tried to set neighbors against each other. President Trump is no example of family values and he has no understanding of America’s history as a nation of immigrants.
I reject targeting the parents of Dreamers—mothers and fathers that worked tirelessly to give their children a shot at a better life. I also honor them for their bravery and their sacrifice. That is why, while it was a very difficult decision, I voted for this legislation. My vote was a vote to protect over a million Dreamers from deportation from the only country they have ever known. I voted for a future that—despite politics in Washington—is still bright, diverse and bold, just like the millions of immigrants that came before us and the 1.8 million Dreamers that would have finally been on a pathway to citizenship.
Make no mistake. I stood with the parents of Dreamers today. The parents of Dreamers deserve to be embraced in this country, but they must finally be secure in the knowledge that their kids, the children they’ve done everything in their lives for, will continue to be the inspiring monument to their bravery. These parents deserve better than to be attacked. They deserve better than living in fear that their sacrifice for their children could be in vain because of a racist President and an impotent Congress.
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is a Democratic Senator representing Nevada.
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