Unwavering Champion on Immigration
Since coming to Congress, I have led the constant drumbeat on reforming our broken immigration system so that it is comprehensive, inclusive, and humane, and invests in America’s future. I believe in an immigration system that respects the dignity of immigrant communities and recognizes their contributions to American society. As the son of strawberry sharecroppers, I understand the barriers and struggles facing immigrant individuals and families everywhere. I know we can make Silicon Valley, and our nation, stronger by upholding our values and principles and honoring the entrepreneurial spirit of the American dream.
Fighting for an Immigration System that Strengthens our Economy
I know that immigration reform is critical to advancing Silicon Valley’s and our nation’s technological innovation and economic global competitiveness. I understand that enhancing the employment-based visa categories, including higher caps on H-1B visas and foreign students with advanced U.S. degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, not only makes sense, but doing so makes dollars and cents for CA-17 and our nation. That is why I support the Startup Act 2.0, which would promote economic growth by encouraging investment in startup companies and offering permanent residence to entrepreneurs who create jobs in the U.S. I know that the immigrants’ spirit is the spirit and story of entrepreneurs. As the Representative of Silicon Valley, I co-sponsored the Attracting the Best and Brightest Act, which would create a green card category for persons with advanced degrees in STEM.
Forging Our More Perfect Union | Reuniting Families Act
For too long, our immigration system has been an exclusionary tool to keep families apart. That is why in the past four Congresses I introduced the Reuniting Families Act to reduce the visa backlog for legal immigrants and ensure that our families – all our families – can be reunited. Additionally, this bill would have eliminated discrimination in immigration law against same-sex binational permanent partners and their families who are seeking to reunite. Same- sex couples and families faced separation or deportation because of the U.S. immigration laws, before the Supreme Court decision United States v. Windsor, that declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Prior to the decision, I was a pioneer in fighting for comprehensive immigration reform that included the recognition of same-sex binational couples and their families in the United States. As vice Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, I successfully led an effort to urge the Department of Homeland Security to provide written policy recognizing LGBT partnerships as family relationships when exercising prosecutorial discretion in removal proceedings. As Immigration Taskforce Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I continue to work with Senate and House leadership, the Administration, and the Congressional Hispanic, Black and Progressive Caucuses, to ensure that all families remain the cornerstone of our immigration system, and to champion immigration reform that strengthens our economy and supports the labor needs of U.S. businesses and Silicon Valley.
Safeguarding the American DREAM | DREAMers and DACA
I have been a leading champion for DREAM students. In 2010, as a member of the DREAM Whip Group, a group composed of key congressional immigration figures, I worked steadfastly with my colleagues, Congressional leadership, CAPAC Members, and the Administration to ensure passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in the House. Despite challenges, I continue to advocate on behalf of DREAM students. I have urged the Administration to ensure that DREAM-eligible students and other low-priority individuals are not deported. I also support President Obama’s leadership and compassion in implementing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which shields over a million young immigrants from deportation. This landmark decision was a clarion call to Congress to rise and do its part to make the dreams of the young, hardworking, and high-achieving DREAMers’ dreams a reality.
Protecting New Americans and Citizens | SUCCEED Act and Appropriations
The immigrants’ pursuit of the American Dream ultimately strengthens our nation’s social and economic fabric. That is why I introduced the Strengthen and United Communities through Civic Education and English Skills (SUCCEED) Act, which will provide opportunities for new Americans to gain the vital English skills needed to succeed and contribute to our economy. This legislation will help our economy remain competitive, protect our workers, and incentivize immigrant integration through English and civics education. As a senior Member of the Appropriations Committee, I continue to fight to protect those programs, which positively and inclusively support new citizens and their integration, while holding accountable those programs that threaten our civil rights and justice.
Working with President Obama | Collaboration with the Administration
I have continued to lobby the Obama Administration on immigration, meeting with President Obama, Leader Pelosi and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President. To continue to put pressure on Speaker Boehner to bring the immigration bill to the floor, I have participated in immigration rallies on the National Mall, supported the Fast 4 Families Movement, and written multiple Op-Ed’s featured on The Hill, The Huffington Post, Politico, and Mercury News to shed light on the important issues surrounding immigration reform.
Bipartisan Legislation | Reaching Across The Aisle | Coalition Building
I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 15, the comprehensive immigration reform bill that will increase high skill visas for CA-17 Silicon Valley workers, reunite families, and provide a pathway to citizenship for those living in the shadows. This bill has both Democratic and Republican support with over 190 sponsors, reflecting compromises made from both parties. As the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Immigration Task Force Chair, I have taken the lead on many initiatives to promote essential provisions needed in any comprehensive reform package with the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), and worked with the United Farm Workers urging support for a path to citizenship for farm workers and the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
More on Immigration
I applaud today’s announcement by President Obama of the steps he is taking to begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba. For over 50 years, our foreign policy with Cuba has done nothing but hurt the people of Cuba, separate families, and cost us a potential ally and trading partner.
Rand Paul’s comments comparing President Obama’s executive order on Immigration with President Roosevelt’s executive order that imprisoned thousands of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II could not be more misguided. At best, he is confused. At worst, he is just wrong.
President Roosevelt’s action was based on racism, fear, hysteria, war, and the lack of real political leadership. He succumbed to political pressure to deny Constitutional protections to 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of who were US-born citizens.
Today, President Obama has taken an important first step towards fixing our broken immigration system with his executive action. I applaud his decision to implement programs that will delay the deportations of up to 5 million people. This will make our immigration system more fair, humane, and workable. It is unfortunate that he was forced to take this action because Speaker John Boehner has not allowed the House to do its job and vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
While I am extremely disappointed that President Obama will not take executive action to fix our broken immigration system until after this November’s midterm elections, I am more disappointed that such an action is needed in the first place. Over a year ago, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill that would bring relief and justice to the over 11 million undocumented people in this country, as well as add $1 billion to our economy. Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans leadership have refused to let us vote on a House version of this bill.
Washington, DC – To gain a deeper, in-depth understanding of the immigration in-take process at the U.S.-Mexico Border, Congressman Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley), along with a Congressional delegation, will tour border sites in McAllen, Texas, and meet with officials from both the United States and Mexico this Thursday, Friday, August 28-29.
Washington, DC – Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) has written an open letter to the Korean American community expressing his sorrow at the horrific loss of life in the Sewol Ferry Tragedy.
Washington, DC – Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) today introduced the Freedom of Faith Act (H.R. 4460), which will make permanent the special immigrant provision for non-minister religious workers. The current religious workers program is set to expire in 2015.
Washington, D.C. – At Friday’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) asked Attorney General Eric Holder about the backlog in testing of rape kits, delays in immigration hearings, and what resources the Justice Department plans to dedicate to fighting the sex trafficking of minors.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) today said he would work closely with President Obama and his fellow House members on plans the President laid out in his State of the Union address.
“Tonight we heard a President, who understands the needs of hard-working Americans, outline an agenda to help them overcome the challenges our country faces,” Congressman Honda said. “I look forward to working with the President, and my colleagues in Congress, to enact legislation to get this done.”
Washington, DC – Congressman Honda (D-Silicon Valley) today lauded the US House of Representatives for passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014, and called on the Senate to pass it immediately.