Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Offers Motion to Recommit to Protect Dreamers and Stop Funding For the Border Wall


Date: Sept. 14, 2017
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Immigration

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, issued the following statement about her passionate effort on the floor of the House to protect Dreamers and prevent funding for the border wall:

"For more than two centuries, America has stood as a beacon of hope and freedom to people around the world. Immigrants have flocked to her shores seeking opportunity and a better life. That is why I was proud to lead the fight to amend H.R. 3354, the "Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of FY2018."'

"H.R. 3354 provides billions of dollars to expand ICE detention facilities and begin work on the border wall. I believe both efforts and are wrong-sighted and ultimately against our values as a people.

"My Motion to Recommit sought to transfer $2.4 billion to the FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation account, offset by eliminating the $1.6 billion funding for the President's border wall and $840 million in new funds for ICE to be used for an additional 10,000 detention beds and facilities. When we listen to the better angels of our nature, we know in our hearts this is the right and just -- and the American -- thing to do.

"I was an eyewitness to the devastation inflicted on Southeast Texas and Louisiana which struck on August 25, 2017 by Hurricane Harvey. My colleagues from the great State of Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands are bearing similar witness to the terrible destruction caused earlier this week by Hurricane Irma.

"More than 13,000 people were rescued in the Houston area by the U.S. Coast Guard, state and local first responders, and civilian volunteers risking danger to help their friends, neighbors, and persons they did not even know. One of those heroes was a Dreamer, Alonso Guillen, a man who came to Texas from Mexico as a teenager, and who died when his boat capsized while he was rescuing survivors of the flooding.

"I believe we do not need to waste money building a wall to prevent river crossings on the southern border. We do need more pre-disaster funding to help people get across the rivers running through the streets of our cities and towns when hurricanes strike unleashing floods. We do not need another 10,000 beds in ICE detention centers; but we do need more than 10,000 beds in evacuation shelters.

"Unfortunately, my efforts and those of my House Democratic colleagues fell short. Despite the amendment's defeat, we will continue to advocate for the rights of Dreamers while working to strengthen this nation's immigrant-welcoming tradition. Instead of the closed and angry fist of walls, roundups, and detention, we should choose instead to extend an open and loving hand to help the hopeless, homeless, and helpless.