U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., is using recent comments from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on immigration to push for his proposal giving younger illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
This week, Sessions appeared on Fox News and was asked about Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez who is suing the federal government for being deported in February. Montes Bojorquez says he is eligible under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to stay in the United States. Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California is handling the case. In last year’s presidential campaign, Trump said Curiel ruled against him in a case concerning Trump University due to the judge’s Mexican heritage.
"DACA enrollees are not being targeted, I don’t know why this individual was picked up," Sessions told Fox News. "Everybody in the country illegally is subject to being deported, so people come here and they stay here a few years and somehow they think they are not subject to being deported -- well, they are.
"Our priority is to end the lawlessness at the border, stop the additional flow of illegals into the country, then to prioritize those who have gotten in trouble with the law, recent arrivals, people who have been deported previously, drug dealers and other criminal activists, they need to be deported first,” Sessions insisted. "But we can’t promise people who are here unlawfully that they aren’t going to be deported.”
Curbelo insisted Sessions was breaking with Trump’s previous policy on the issue.
“Mr. Sessions’ comments directly contradict the president’s previous statements promising to treat our DREAMers compassionately,” Curbelo said on Wednesday. “This is a reminder why DACA is not enough and Congress must take action to provide a fair and permanent solution for DREAMers. These young people are contributing to our communities and our economy, and they should not have to live in constant fear. My legislation, the Recognizing America’s Children Act, would provide a pathway permanent legal status through military service, work authorization, or higher education, and would give peace of mind to hundreds of thousands across the country.
“I urge all my colleagues who want to help these young people and advance responsible immigration policy to join us and co-sponsor the RAC Act,” Curbelo added. “Politicians need to stop using these young people, whose lives and futures are on the line, as pawns in the political process. I urge all Americans who have it in their hearts to do something for these young people to call your representatives and tell them we need to act together and now.”
Speaking with the Miami Herald last month, Curbelo noted that Trump preserved DACA in executive actions on immigration.
“This White House has sent a very strong message by preserving the executive order that protects these young people,” Curbelo told the Miami Herald. “We know that they’ve been very aggressive when it comes to immigration policy, so it certainly stands out that they have left the DACA executive order untouched.”
Last month, Curbelo brought out a bill updating much of the DACA program giving younger illegal immigrants, often called DREAMers--those who entered the country before 2012 and who were 16 or younger when they entered--a path to citizenship. Curbelo‘s “Recognizing America’s Children” (RAC) Act has the support of fellow South Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
“Over the years many immigrant children have arrived in our country – brought by their parents who either illegally crossed one of our borders or overstayed their visas,” Curbelo said when he brought out the bill last month. “For most of these young people, the United States is the only country they have ever called home. They attended school with our own children, graduated high school and today they are seeking to serve in our military, pursue a college degree or certificate and contribute to our economy by working.
“These are America’s children, and that is why I’m proud to lead this group of representatives from all over the country to introduce legislation to simply recognize them as such and provide them an earned path to legal status,” Curbelo continued. “I hope Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate can get behind this legislation and that it can soon be sent to the president’s desk for his signature.”