The Democratic Hearing on Immigration

DSC01871smThe five Texas members of Congress who made up the Democratic delegation that came to Houston to hold an immigration hearing were all supportive of “comprehensive immigration reform,” whatever that is nowadays. As I mentioned in my post informing you all about the hearing, the hearing would be mostly friendly and it was.

As I expected, not much was said about the $40 billion border militarization plan placed in S.744, except when local activist Maria Jimenez spoke about the hundreds of deaths that occur on the border due to increased enforcement. None of the other local activists mentioned it either, preferring to talk about “comprehensive immigration reform.” As I’ve stated frequently, I would like to hear from one Democrat (or from any of the national immigration groups standing up for it) why the border surge is a necessity and why they support it.

Members of the Chinese and other Asian communities were also supportive, particularly about increasing the numbers of family visas. There was also support shown by the South Asian and Pakistani community, as well as the African American and Clergy community, and even Julia Maldonado and the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston. All-in-all, it was quite a show of unity from the community-based groups.

The strongest presentation came from a DREAMer, Isaac Valdez, a Math major at UH-Downtown who was recently elected Student Body President. Although he supports the DREAM act and is a DACA student, he also wants a comprehensive solution that ensures family unity and opportunity.

Also making a strong statement was the Greater Houston Partnership; however, when pressed about whether they supported CIR or not, the Port of Houston only talked about it being an “economic engine” for Houston–whatever that means in the context of immigration reform. Perhaps they’re just looking for some of that “security” boondoggle money.

Of course, those that need to be convinced, like Ted Poe and John Culberson, weren’t in the room. Not that they are even open-minded on the path to citizenship, or anything. But at least to hear from the community. At the very least, all of the statements are now of public record.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee gave mention a couple of times to the DREAM9, a group of deported DREAMers who had attempted to cross a legal port of entry into the US to begin a movement to bring back DREAMers who have been deported. They are sitting individually in solitary confinement in a privately run detention center, blocked from making phone calls, but also working to interview other detainees. 

Kudos should go, though, to Mayor Annise Parker, Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez and the City Council for opening the doors of City Hall for this hearing.

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