Apr 12 2006
Republicans in House and Senate Respond to Monday’s Rallies
In response to major protests throughout the U.S. this Monday, Republicans collectively decided to possibly change two major portions of the House of Representatives’ proposed immigration bill.
The House of Representatives’ bill would have turned all illegal immigrants into felons and would have made providing help to these illegal immigrants a crime. Republicans now state that neither of these were their original intent.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R- TN) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) issued a joint statement Tuesday that said: “It remains our intent to produce a strong border security bill that will not make unlawful presence in the United States a felony." Republicans then said that their original intent was to make illegal presence in the U.S. a misdemeanor, but Democrats in the House had shifted the punishment to a felony. In addition, Republicans blamed Democrats for the stalling of a compromise bill in the Senate.
However, in response to these accusations, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said, “Actions speak louder than words, and there's no running away from the fact that the Republican House passed a bill and Senator Frist offered one that criminalizes immigrants …. Millions of people have made their voices heard in support of a comprehensive immigration reform plan and now it is time for action, not empty rhetoric.”
The protests and rallies held throughout the country this Monday are a reminder of the importance of real and meaningful immigration reform that respects the dignity of all our fellow global citizens. Hopefully, the Republicans and Democrats can move past in-fighting and start moving toward a real solution in the coming weeks.