National Latino Organizations Release Final Congressional Report Cards Ranking Immigration Reform Progress
A coalition of national Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations released the final immigration score card ranking the immigration progress of lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
The coalition, including the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (AFL-CIO), Hispanic Federation, Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Labor Council for Latin American (LCLAA) Advancement, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mi Familia Vota, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), OCA National - Asian Pacific American Advocates and Voto Latino, intends to show how Congress has "failed" on comprehensive immigration reform.
LULAC's National Executive Director Brent Wilkes told Latin Post the score cards provide a "very clear picture" of all 435 House Representatives and who's been voting on legislation concerning immigration.
The scorecards are based on House politicians' votes, co-sponsorship and other actions on several bills, including the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15); Discharge Petition to H.R. 15; King Amendment to the FY 2014 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 2217); ENFORCE the Law Act of 2014 (H.R. 4138); Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014 (H.R. 3973); Nadler Amendment to the ENFORCE Act of 2014 (H.R. 4138); Deutch Amendment to the FY 2014 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 2217); Reuniting Families Act (H.R. 717); King Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 4660); Statement in Support of Path to Citizenship; Statement in Support of Family Unity (by reducing visa backlogs to reunite families).
"The first-ever National Immigration Score Card shows that the House of Representatives and its leaders have failed Latino and immigrant families. Despite promises by House leaders to get legislation passed this year, they have squandered the best chance in a decade to pass comprehensive immigration reform," Voto Latino Communications Director Jimmy Hernandez told Latin Post.
Hernandez stated that the coalition will use the score cards to make sure their communities know which House members stood with and against Latino families.
Based on the score card, many House lawmakers received 0 percent, including Speaker of the House John Boehner R-Ohio; Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; and Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia. The organizations have also categorized the representatives by state and highlight the legislations they supported and opposed.
"In Latino homes, failing school grades are simply not accepted, and I imagine Latino voters will not accept any House member who failed on this important issue," added Hernandez.
According to Hispanic Federation President Jose Calderon during the press conference, "The legislative movement [in Congress] is not where we envisioned to be a year ago," adding that the House and Republican leaders have blocked many efforts.
"It is inevitable we will pass immigration reform," said Calderon. "It's not a question of 'if' but 'when.'"
Mi Familia Vota's Rocio Sáenz, a member of their Board of Directors, stated that the release of the final score cards will help the Asian, Pacific Islander and Latino communities to be better informed for November's elections. Sáenz added it's important to "bolster" their voices for the midterm elections. She said leaders in the House have ignored their call for comprehensive immigration reform.
NCLR's Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation Deputy Vice President Clarissa Martinez de Castro noted immigration reform should be party of the Republican Party's ideology as it provides an economic boom of 14,000 jobs for many congressional districts, and builds on family unity.
Martinez de Castro clarified the score cards are not meant to set one political party against another. She said there are notable exemptions within the GOP, but Democrats "have done better than Republicans," specifically against the Republican leadership.
"I love America, because in America we believe in redemption. Republicans have a shot of redemption," added Martinez de Castro. She said there's hope "Republicans will step up and court our communities" since it establishes a stronger community and government.
In regards to the development of the 2014 National Immigration Score Card, Wilkes noted, "We have a policy where we will not score anything unless the members of Congress have been alerted of our position in advance of the vote."
To view the final immigration score card, click here.