Our district is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in the United States. The Northside and Eastside have been the traditional port of entry for immigrants coming to Houston and the greater Gulf Region for nearly a century. Unfortunately, our national immigration policy has been broken for too long and has inflicted an incalculable toll on our communities – from holding back economic development to unfairly denying young people an opportunity to pursue their dreams.
For these reasons, I have been a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform in Congress that would enable undocumented immigrants with no previous criminal record to apply for residency and earn U.S. citizenship. This is crucial to bringing our undocumented population out of the shadows and enabling them to be productive members of our society.
Thousands of the families in the 29th Congressional District have relatives who are undocumented but have children who were born here and are U.S. citizens. I have co-sponsored several such bills that would provide relief to members of our community, including the DREAM Act and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) ASAP Act of 2009. I have also held an annual Citizenship Day for almost twenty years to give eligible legal residents the opportunity to fill out an application for U.S. citizenship with the help of local volunteers.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
I strongly support the Department of Homeland Security‘s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative will help young people to be able to receive a two-year work visa and further their education without fear of being deported.
There are over 68,000 Texans who have received deferred action under the program, the second highest number in the country. Our district has one of the highest numbers of young people (over 12,000) in the country who qualify for deferred action, and I hope as many will take advantage of this opportunity as possible.
It is important to remember that deferred action is only a temporary status and does not confer the protections that becoming a legal permanent resident or a U.S. citizen would; such changes can only be approved by Congress. It is very important that our nation's elected officials in Washington take up this debate, fix our country's broken immigration system, and create a pathway for all of our nation's young people to have to chance to achieve the American Dream.
For more information on the DACA process, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website here.
The DREAM Act is federal legislation that, if passed, would potentially benefit over one million young people living in the U.S. by allowing undocumented immigrant children who graduate high school and attend college or serve in the military for two years to become legal, permanent residents. I am a strong supporter of the DREAM Act and have been a co-sponsor of the bill every time it has been introduced in Congress. These students are and will continue to be members of our community and should not be penalized for their parents' failure to abide by immigration laws. In December 2010 I had the honor of voting in favor of this important bill, which passed in the House of Representatives but was defeated in the Senate. Fortunately, Texas is one of the few states to have its own DREAM Act, allowing undocumented students who attend and graduate from a high school in Texas to pay in-state tuition when they attend a state college or university.
As your representative in Congress, I have voted in support of stronger border security measures and to limit illegal crossings of our nation's borders. Over the past several years, Congress, with my support, has increased available resources for border security, including having doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2005. As a result of this increased enforcement, net migration from Mexico into the United States reached zero in 2011 and 2012, and the number of apprehensions of foreign nationals along the border reached a 40-year low last year. It is important that our nation’s border officials have the resources necessary to protect our country from drug smugglers and other illicit contraband while making sure that our ports of entry run smoothly and do not impede the everyday activities of our state’s border communities.
More on Immigration
HOUSTONTX -- On Saturday, June 17, Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston) will host a citizenship workshop. This is a one-stop application processing opportunity for legal residents interested in obtaining their U.S. citizenship. The process consists of completing Form N400, taking photographs, and purchasing money orders for the application fee.