WASHINGTON DC – Tuesday, following Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcement that President Trump was sending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to Congress to determine how the situation should be handled as indicated by constitutional standards, several members of the Illinois Republican Caucus responded to the action.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) clearly expressed his support for DACA, and his intention to provide a path to citizenship for those in the program.
“America is a nation of laws, and it is the sole responsibility of Congress to create and pass legislation. President Obama bypassed Congress when he originally created the program, but in so doing, he offered a pathway for these individuals to get right with the law," Kinzinger said. "In 2015, I voted to support DACA because I believe these children, who only know America to be their home, deserve an opportunity to be here legally.
Kinzinger was a cosponsor of H.R. 1468, the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act, a bill that would provide protection for those in America due to their parents' illegal entry.
"It is my hope that the House will consider this legislation, sponsored by my friend and colleague Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), so we can act on this important issue sooner rather than later," Kinzinger said. "It’s critical that we act on a permanent, legislative solution that allows these immigrants, individuals who have come out of the shadows and contributed to our society and economy, to stay here legally.”
Downstate GOP Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13) was a little more vague in his response, indicating the need for stronger border protection, while blaming the nation's "broken immigration system" for the DACA issue.
"Our immigration system is broken and it cannot be fixed simply by circumventing Congress and legislating through the Executive Branch as done by the Obama administration," Davis said. "We need stronger border protections and enforcement measures, which the House has already started to address.
"However, part of this broken immigration system includes people who were brought here illegally as children through no fault of their own and for many of them, America is the only country they have ever known," he said. "President Obama said himself in 2012 that DACA was never meant to be a permanent fix. Now, President Trump has provided a timeline for Congress to address this issue and I hope together we can find a permanent, bipartisan solution that balances compassion and lawfulness."
Southern Illinois' Congressman John Shimkus (IL-15) said rolling back the previous administration’s temporary DACA policy puts "necessary pressure" on Congress to act on illegal immigration. He emphasized the need for border protection and a crack down on sanctuary cities, although the state's Republican governor signed a bill into law last week making the state of Illinois a "sanctuary" for illegals.
"The House has already begun that work, approving legislation this year to better enforce existing immigration laws, crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, and provide $1.6 billion for the construction of a physical barrier along our southern border," Shimkus said in a statement. "We must continue working together to ensure our immigration system is not only fair to American citizens, but also fair and compassionate to young adults brought here illegally by their parents."
Statements will be added as they come from Illinois Republican Congress members Peter Roskam, Randy Hultgren, Darin LaHood and Mike Bost.