When President Obama gave his 2nd inaugural speech announcing Comprehensive Immigration Reform as a top priority it became an opportunity for Texas Democrats to stand up and take a leadership role.
Congressman Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), whose district has the longest stretch of U.S. – Mexico border at 800 miles, accepted that challenge. Today Rep. Gallego spoke on the House floor in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform — especially with regards to those serving in the armed forces. He wants to ensure the citizens of his district, which contains 5 ports of entry as well as 3 major military bases, are allowed to determine their own fate through "hard work", and not "circumstance". The Senate's so called "Gang of Eight" has released details of their version of the plan on Tuesday.
Watch the Congressman's speech on the floor and click the jump for the full transcript…
I rise today encouraged that Comprehensive Immigration Reform is moving now that the framework has been released by our colleagues in the Senate.
The 23rd Congressional district of Texas, which I represent, runs 800 miles along the border and includes 5 ports of entry. No other congressional district shares a larger border with Mexico.
After more than two decades, I’m encouraged that we our friends in the Senate are taking steps and finally have a framework to a common sense immigration process.
I look forward to working with in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to get it done this year.
Our values teach us that families should stick together and that hard work, not circumstance should shape our future. I believe that our nation becomes stronger as more people pledge allegiance to our flag and can commit fully to this nation and our economy.
Last week, I asked the Senate Gang of Eight to give special consideration to members of the armed forces who risk their lives for our country and families. This is particularly important to folks and families in Joint Base Lackland in San Antonio, Laughin in Del Rio, and Fort Bliss in El Paso.
I requested that Comprehensive Immigration Reform include the following:
1) eliminate the three and ten year bar for spouses,
2) prevent the termination of petitions of spouses and children of fallen heroes,
3) and streamline the naturalization process for those deployed overseas.
The immigration process should ensure special consideration for these men and women who are patriotic in their hearts and fight for our country and our freedom.
I look forward to working with my colleague to getting it done this year. Immigration reform is right, and the time is right now.