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Joe Kennedy III on Immigration

 

 


Build a wall and my generation will tear it down

Our story began the day our Founding Fathers and Mothers set sail for a New World, fleeing oppression and intolerance. It continued with every word of our Independence--the audacity to declare that all men are created equal. An imperfect promise for a nation struggling to become a more perfect union. It grew with every suffragette's step, every Freedom Riders voice, every weary soul we welcomed to our shores.

America, we carry that story on our shoulders. You swarmed Washington last year to ensure no parent has to worry if they can afford to save their child's life. You proudly marched together last weekend--thousands deep--in the streets of Las Vegas and Philadelphia and Nashville. You sat high atop your mom's shoulders and held a sign that read: "Build a wall and my generation will tear it down."

Source: Democratic Response to 2018 State of the Union address , Jan 30, 2018

To all the DREAMers: Vamos a luchar por ustedes

Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country. We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken. A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day. Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets. And that nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs: this is not right. This is not who we are.

It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics. But it's far bigger than that. This administration isn't just targeting the laws that protect us--they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.

[The Trump] administration callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away.

To all the "Dreamers" watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar. You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away.

Source: Democratic Response to 2018 State of the Union address , Jan 30, 2018

Kennedy promises to fight for DACA recipients

On DACA: "For the DREAMers seated at the table with us today, pursuing our shared American dream has required immense struggle and sacrifice that few understand," said Rep. Kennedy. "Bravely embracing the only home they have ever known, these students and young professionals represent the very best our country has to offer and are deeply committed to their communities. My colleagues & I will fight even harder to protect them and their 800,000 fellow Dreamers from President Trump's dangerous policies."
Source: MIRA Coalition on 2020 Massachusetts Senate race , Oct 16, 2017

Provide an opportunity to earn citizenship

Q: Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?

A: No.

Q: Do you support allowing illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?

A: No. I believe that we need immigration reform that is comprehensive in nature including efforts to secure our borders, strengthen enforcement, reform the immigration process and provide an opportunity to earn citizenship. I support increased cooperation and information-sharing between local and federal law enforcement, but I believe that federal immigration law should be enforced by federal agencies.

Source: MA Congressional 2012 Political Courage Test , Oct 30, 2012

Opposes exiting US to apply for citizenship.

Kennedy opposes the PVS survey question on amnesty

Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.

Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Immigration: Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?'

Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q12 on Aug 30, 2012

Voted to legalize DREAMer immigrants via military service.

Kennedy voted NAY Gosar Anti-DACA Amendment to H.R. 5293

Congressional Summary: The House voted on an amendment by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017. The amendment would prohibit funds from being used to extend the expiration of, or reissue a new expiration date to, the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program.

Recommendation by Heritage Foundation to vote YES:(6/16/2016): The MAVNI program is a pilot program authorizing "military services to recruit certain legal immigrants whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest." However, a DoD memo has made it clear that DACA/DAPA recipients are eligible under this program, essentially opening up a pathway to amnesty for illegal aliens who enlist. By ensuring that this guidance ends, DOD will no longer be able to enlist illegal immigrants through MAVNI.

Recommendation by the ACLU to vote NO: (6/28/2011): The DREAM Act promotes fundamental fairness for young people by allowing access to affordable post-secondary education and military service opportunities, regardless of immigration status, and would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, have lived here for at least five years and have graduated from high school. The DREAM Act could result in billions of dollars in additional tax revenue from tapping the potential of DREAM-eligible students and future service personnel. Since September 11, 2001, more than 69,000 immigrants have earned citizenship while serving, and more than 125 who entered military service after that date have made the ultimate sacrifice in war by giving their lives for this nation.

Legislative outcome: Failed House 210 to 211 (no Senate vote)

Source: Supreme Court case 16-H5293 argued on Jun 16, 2016

Provide lawyers and evidence for children being deported.

Kennedy co-sponsored H.R.4646/S.2540

This bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint or provide counsel at government expense to aliens in removal proceedings.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall provide an alien in removal proceedings with all relevant documents in its possession, unless the alien has knowingly waived the right to such documents.
  • DOJ may appoint or provide counsel to aliens in any INA proceeding.
  • DHS shall ensure that aliens have access to counsel inside all immigration detention and border facilities.
  • DOJ shall appoint counsel, at government expense if necessary, for an unaccompanied alien child or a particularly vulnerable individual.
  • DHS shall establish a pilot program to increase the court appearance rates of unaccompanied alien children and particularly vulnerable individuals by contracting with nongovernmental, community-based organizations to provide such aliens with case management services.
    Source: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act 16-HR4646 on Feb 26, 2016

    Increase both high-skill and family-based visa caps.

    Kennedy co-sponsored the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act

    Legislative SummaryThis bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China. The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.

    Explanation from the Countable.US: Under the current immigration system, immigrants from any one country can claim no more than 7% of the 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually to foreign nationals working in the U.S. This significantly disadvantages immigrants from larger countries that more immigrants come from.

    For example, China (population 1.3 billion) and India have large backlogs of workers wishing to immigrate to and work in the U.S., but they have the name visa caps as countries such as Iceland or Estonia (population 1.3 million), which have both much smaller populations and far fewer citizens seeking to immigrate to the U.S.

    The net effect of this is that immigrants from India and China can face decades-long waits, averaging 2-3 times the wait times for immigrants from other countries, for green cards, and many have to return home because they can't get permanent residency; meanwhile, countries such as Iceland and Estonia never come close to reaching their visa limit caps.

    Legislative outcome Roll call 437 in House on 7/10/2019 passed 365-65-2; referred to Committee in Senate 7/9/2019; no action as of 1/1/2020.

    Source: S.386/H.R.1044 19-HR1044 on Feb 7, 2019

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    Page last updated: Apr 29, 2020