News Releases

VIDEO: IMMIGRATION: Murray: “The system has failed, so now, it’s time to act”

Nov 19 2014

Murray Continues Support For President’s Decision to Take Administrative Action, Calls on Republicans to Stop Government Shutdown Threats



Murray: “Administrative action is a band-aid, but it’s better than nothing.  And nothing is what House Republicans are offering”

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks on the Senate floor on the need to fix the broken immigration system. In her speech, Murray expressed support for the President’s decision to take administrative action to improve the immigration system, after the House of Representatives has refused to act on bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate. Murray also called on Republican leaders to push aside Tea Party threats of another government shutdown and work with Democrats in a bipartisan manner to make progress on issues like the budget and immigration reform. 

 Key Excerpts from Senator Murray’s Remarks:

“Speaker Boehner had a full year and a half to do one simple thing: bring the Senate bill up for a vote. And we knew then what we still know now – that if the Speaker brought our bill up for a vote: it would pass with bipartisan support and become law. But instead of doing that, the Speaker has sided with the Tea Party and refused to move our country forward.  He’s made it clear that the House will refuse to act this Congress and ignore the historic opportunity we have.”

“…the system has failed, so now, it’s time to act. President Obama has made it clear that because the House refuses to act, he will take Administrative Action before the end of the year to improve our immigration system – and I support his decision to do that.”

“…I also want to say it has been deeply disappointing to hear that some of my Republican colleagues are threatening to shut the government down, just to keep families from getting some initial relief from the pain our broken immigration system is causing. This is the latest example of extreme Republicans creating uncertainty and threatening to hurt our economy if they don’t get their way. And it’s the exact opposite of the approach Congress needs to take going forward.”

Full Text of Senator Murray’s Remarks:

“Mr. President, I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss one of the most important issues facing our nation today, and that is our longstanding, desperate need to finally fix our nation’s broken immigration system.

“Mr. President, too often in the debate about immigration, it’s difficult for some people to understand that the millions of undocumented families in our country are already an important part of our communities.

“Immigrants work hard and pay their taxes, they send their children to American schools, and they make up a critical part of the fabric of our society. They are Americans in all but name.

“So when we talk about immigration reform, we’re not talking about some vague, philosophical issue.  This is an issue that impacts families. It impacts businesses. It impacts our national security. And really, it impacts what we stand for as Americans.

“It’s not a new issue, either. It’s something we’ve been debating and arguing about for more than a decade.  But it’s something we never seem to be able to tackle.

“That’s not for lack of trying. As everyone here remembers, more than 500 days ago now, the Senate did something remarkable. Members from different backgrounds, different states, and different parties, came together to reach an agreement.

“And here in the Senate, we passed, with a real, bipartisan coalition of 68 Republicans and Democrats, a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would finally start to fix our broken immigration system.

“It would improve our security, provide businesses with the certainty they need, and provide a real path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants who are forced to live in the shadows.

“Not only was this bill a step toward fixing our broken immigration system, it was good for our economy.  The Congressional Budget Office even estimated the Senate bill would reduce the deficit by nearly $1 trillion over the next two decades.

“So, we sent the bill to the House of Representatives knowing the path forward there might not be easy, but we’d heard from members of the House on both sides of the aisle – that they also knew immigration reform had to happen this Congress.

“And Mr. President, back then – in June of 2013 – we knew that we had time on our side.

“Speaker Boehner had a full year and a half to do one simple thing: bring the Senate bill up for a vote. And we knew then what we still know now – that if the Speaker brought our bill up for a vote: it would pass with bipartisan support and become law.

“But instead of doing that, the Speaker has sided with the Tea Party and refused to move our country forward.  He’s made it clear that the House will refuse to act this Congress and ignore the historic opportunity we have.

“Mr. President, for years and years, millions of immigrant families who have played by the rules, paid taxes, and raised their children in the United States have waited and waited for action.

“They’ve organized, they’ve hoped, and they’ve prayed and they’ve trusted that the system would eventually work.

“But Mr. President, the system has failed, so now, it’s time to act.

“President Obama has made it clear that because the House refuses to act, he will take Administrative Action before the end of the year to improve our immigration system – and I support his decision to do that.

“The President’s authority to take action is well-established.

“In fact, every President since Eisenhower – including Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush – has used their authority to improve the administration of our immigration system and to focus enforcement resources on serious criminals rather than on hardworking immigrants with deep roots in our communities.

“And when the President does act – I’ve encouraged him to do several things:

“Expand the already-successful implementation of deferred action for DREAMers – to include people with strong ties to the United States who have not committed serious crimes.

“Change implementation of our laws to make immigration and border enforcement humane, non-discriminatory, and respectful of due process.

“And finally, I’ve asked the President to improve the legal immigration system to keep immigrant families together, protect workers, and provide employers – from agriculture producers to high-tech firms – certainty in a system that has often left them without answers.

“But Mr. President, I also want to be very clear that Administrative Action is not a long-term solution.

“Plain and simple: the only way for us to permanently and effectively fix our broken immigration laws is through comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

“Administrative action is a band-aid, but it’s better than nothing.  And nothing is what House Republicans are offering. 

“Mr. President, I also want to say it has been deeply disappointing to hear that some of my Republican colleagues are threatening to shut the government down, just to keep families from getting some initial relief from the pain our broken immigration system is causing.

“This is the latest example of extreme Republicans creating uncertainty and threatening to hurt our economy if they don’t get their way. And it’s the exact opposite of the approach Congress needs to take going forward.

“We know what happens when Tea Party Republicans go down this road.

“We saw it just last year, when we had a sixteen-day government shutdown that brought the day-to-day workings of the government, and businesses around the country, to a screeching halt.  That shutdown was bad for our economy—it hit workers’ paychecks—and it made families across our country question whether their elected officials could get anything done at all.

“And it was all because of a failed Tea Party political effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the umpteenth time.

“Look—even children understand that flipping the table over doesn’t help you win the game. It just means someone has to pick up the mess you’ve made.

“And when it comes to Tea Party political tactics, we’ve done more than enough of that here in Congress.

“Mr. President, the budget deal I reached with Chairman Ryan wasn’t perfect—I know Chairman Ryan would say the same thing—but it was an important step away from brinkmanship and towards bipartisanship on the budget.

“In the next weeks, Republican leaders are going to have an important choice to make—they can choose bipartisanship, and continue to push the Tea Party aside and work with Democrats on issues like the budget and fixing our broken immigration system, or go back to Tea Party-style governing by crisis, which hurts families, communities and our economy, and would make much more difficult to put in place the lasting, comprehensive immigration reform we need.”

“I urge them to take the bipartisan path—I am ready and willing to work with them if they do. I know my Democratic colleagues are as well. And I know our country will be stronger for it now and for decades to come.

“Thank you Mr. President, I yield the floor.”