North Country U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik voted against an immigration bill Thursday that, if passed by the Senate, would create a path to citizenship for several million young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. She voted for an agricultural immigration bill simplifying the H-2A worker visa program.
DREAM AND PROMISE ACT
“Since taking office, I have consistently opposed amnesty,” Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said in a statement.
Instead, she said she has supported “increased border security, resources for our border patrol officers and law enforcement, and fixing our legal immigration system.”
“The Dream and Promise Act of 2021 undermines each of these critical goals by providing mass amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and granting green cards to illegal immigrants not currently living or working in the United States, gang members and individuals with criminal convictions,” Stefanik said.
The Dream and Promise Act of 2021 focuses on “Dreamers,” immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally while they were minors who live and grew up in America. It would make it so these immigrants would not be removed from the country and would be able to become citizens through several pathways. The bill passed the House 228 to 197 on Thursday.
Reasons for child and family migration vary. It may be a desire for a better economic position, joining family already here or escaping gang violence.
Stefanik said another reason she voted against the bill is that it would not provide more funding for border agents, “Many of whom are from the North Country and have been temporarily reassigned to the southern border to address the worst border crisis in decades caused by President Biden’s disastrous policies.”
The number of migrants illegally crossing the southern border started increasing last year and is now higher than in the past 20 years. Many of these people are unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the U.S.
President Joe Biden has reversed the former president’s “Migrant Protection Protocol,” under which migrants waited in Mexico for immigration hearings in the U.S. As a result, thousands of migrants and children have been put in detention camps for days as they wait for hearings.
“North Country farmers have long suffered from an unstable workforce and constant demand for labor. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act addresses this reality by reforming the broken H-2A program, while ensuring job security for American workers and stability for our nation’s food supply.”
Stefanik previously co-sponsored this bill and said it would provide more flexibility for employers and protections for workers. She was glad it would expand H-2A to year-round labor, specifically for the dairy industry; allow farmers to post job openings on an online job registry, which she said would ensure American workers have opportunity to apply; and establishing a mandatory, nationwide E-verify system for all agricultural employment, which she said would “guarantee due process for authorized workers.”