Arizona politicians react to House approval of immigration bill

Jun 4, 2019, 6:53 PM | Updated: Jun 5, 2019, 8:25 am

PHOENIX – One Arizona congressman said the American Dream and Promise Act was “right” and “smart.” Another called it “disastrous.”

As could be expected, local reaction to Tuesday’s vote on the HR 6 immigration bill was split along party lines.

Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton spoke on the floor in favor of the legislation before the House approved it by a 237-187 margin.

“We’re here today to pass a bill that will provide permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for our Dreamers — a solution that is long overdue, one that will lift up 2 million people across the nation, for many, giving them a permanent place in the only home, the only country they have ever known,” the former mayor of Phoenix said.

He said that in addition to being “the right thing,” the bill did “a smart thing.”

“Make no mistake, this is an economic stimulus bill,” he said.

“The economic gains in communities across the country will be significant — and fewer stand to benefit more than my community. The Phoenix metro area ranks among the top areas that will experience real economic benefit from passage of this bill.”

Seven Republicans voted for the bill, but otherwise the result stuck to party lines.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego said he was “proud” to vote for the bill.

Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Prescott, however, argued the legislation doesn’t address the real issues with the country’s immigration laws and will make things worse at the border.

“It will simply serve to incentivize more migrants to come to the United States illegally,” he said.

“Congress should work with the administration in stopping the surge of illegal immigration, not incentivizing more caravans.”

Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko said, “The legislation does nothing to solve the crisis at the border, expands amnesty to millions more than current DACA recipients (and) puts illegal immigrants in line for citizenship ahead of those that have waited years to enter legally.”

During his floor comments, Rep. Andy Biggs echoed Gosar’s sentiments, saying, “There’s a border crisis. This bill does nothing to stop that border crisis.”

After the vote, the Gilbert Republican issued a statement calling it a “disastrous amnesty bill.”

“This legislation legalizes millions of illegal aliens, incentivizes fraudulent applications, provides green cards to criminals and gang members, gives taxpayer-funded dollars for green card assistance, and adds tens of billions of dollars to our national debt,” the statement said.

“This is irresponsible governance.”

The bill would protect from deportation and provide a pathway toward citizenship for young migrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Many would be “Dreamers” currently safeguarded by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which only the federal courts have thwarted Trump from dismantling.

It would also shield others here temporarily because their home countries — chiefly in Central America, Africa and the Middle East — have been ravaged by wars or natural disasters.

It’s highly doubtful, however, that the bill will become law anytime soon.

If it somehow gets through the GOP-controlled Senate, which is unlikely, President Donald Trump has threatened to veto it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona politicians react to House approval of immigration bill