My grandparents immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, and it was later in my adult life that I learned my grandmother lived in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant after she was turned away at Ellis Island and had no choice but to come across the U.S.-Mexico border. I’m proud to carry on the life they built for my family in this country, and I’m honored to serve a nation and a district that has continued to welcome immigrants from across the globe with compassion, safety, and a sense of community. The United States owes its existence not only to those whose descendants came over a century ago, but also to those who arrived here in the last few decades and established a new life. America is stronger when immigrants are welcome and have an opportunity to contribute and succeed.
No one residing in and contributing to this country should live in fear of deportation by their own government. In Congress, I am fighting for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and I have taken numerous steps to protect the rights and dignity of immigrants already residing in the United States, as well as those who dream of starting new lives in our nation. Recent examples include:
· In response to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, I championed H.R. 549, the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019, which will allow Venezuelans to apply for TPS. H.R. 549 passed the House in July and I am hopeful the Senate will vote on it soon. I have also supported multiple pieces of legislation aimed at providing aid for the people of Venezuela and protecting victims of the Maduro regime. My first original bill, which passed the House in March, H.R. 920, the Venezuela Arms Restriction Act, will prohibit the export of arms to Maduro’s security forces in Venezuela. This bill was signed into law as part of the 2020 funding package.
· I’ve led the effort to close the Homestead Detention Facility and ensure unaccompanied migrant kids have the resources and support they need. I’m an original cosponsor of H.R. 3868, the HOMESTEAD Act of 2019, which will guarantee Members of Congress access to detention facilities.
· I’m proud to be a cosponsor of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, which will provide a pathway to permanent residence for DACA, TPS, and DED recipients. This bill passed the House in June of 2019. I’ve also cosponsored bills to extend TPS for Nicaraguans and Haitians.
· I cosponsored H.R. 541, the Keep Families Together Act, which will prohibit the separation of families at the border without evidence of abuse.
· I cosponsored H.R. 3239, the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in CBP Custody Act, which will impose standards of care, including initial health screenings, for all migrants in CBP custody. This bill passed the House in July of 2019.
· I cosponsored H.R. 2146, the GRACE Act, which will prevent a Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions at a level below 95,000 per year.
· I cosponsored H.R. 3222, No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act, which will prohibit the use of federal funds to implement the Trump administration’s proposed “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” rule. This rule would punish legal immigrants for using public services.
Our country was founded on the notion that everyone, no matter their ethnicity, their background, or their native language, deserves the opportunity to rise up and build the life they want. This American Dream does not belong to one people, but to all who uphold the vision of freedom, democracy, and equality for which America strives. As long as I am in Congress, I will work to ensure that this vision is not forgotten.