WATCH: Padilla Delivers Floor Remarks Ahead of Senate Border Bill Vote

WATCH: Padilla denounces border bill and demonization of immigrants

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, delivered remarks on the Senate floor opposing the Border Act being voted on today in the Senate, and condemning the rise in hateful rhetoric directed at immigrants.

Padilla condemned the immigration bill’s failure to address the root causes of migration, extreme restrictions on asylum, and enforcement-only provisions that would only exacerbate the challenges at the southern border. He emphasized that unlike in previous bipartisan immigration negotiations, the bill included no additional legal pathways to citizenship and did not provide any relief for Dreamers, farm workers, or other long-term undocumented residents.

He recalled when he returned to California after college to find ads demonizing immigrants and threatening to deny undocumented children basic public services like education. Today, 30 years later, Padilla criticized the renewed rise in vile attacks on immigrants, including a Republican presidential nominee warning that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of our nation.

Padilla urged his colleagues to join him in voting “no” on the bill before the Senate and to work with him to modernize our immigration system and ensure we have a secure and humane border.

Video of the full remarks can be found here.

A full transcript of his remarks as delivered can be found here.

Key Excerpts:

  • When I was a kid growing up, the last thing I thought I’d do when I grew up was to be involved with government and politics. But when I returned home from college, I came home to California to find hateful TV ads warning of an “invasion” at our border. These were in support of a ballot measure demonizing immigrant families and communities like mine.
  • A generation of Latinos in California grew up knowing that officials who were elected to represent us were actually more than happy to scapegoat our families as the root cause of the state’s challenges. But instead of putting our head down and waiting for the political tides to turn, my generation decided to get involved.
  • I think about my children, and a whole new generation of Latinos across the country that see leaders of the Republican party demonizing immigrants and people who look like us. Yes, the Republican presidential nominee warns that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of our nation — echoing rhetoric from Nazi Germany. That’s happening!
  • The proposal before us was initially supposed to be a concession — a ransom to be paid to Republicans to pass urgent and critical aid to Ukraine. … I can’t help but ask, what’s this concession for now? Because it surely cannot be our new starting point for negotiating immigration reform.
  • Mr. President, I’m disappointed. Because this bill contains some of the same tried and failed policies that would actually make the situation worse at the southern border.
  • It’s not just what’s in the bill that troubles me; it’s what’s not in the bill. If enacted, this bill would fail to provide relief for a single Dreamer, for a single farm worker, or a single essential worker or long-term resident of the United States who has been here for years, in some cases decades, working, paying taxes, contributing to the strength of our communities and our country and the success of our economy.
  • Every time political leaders villainize immigrants, communities like mine feel the effects. Just ask any Latino kid who’s been told to go back to where they came from. Ask anyone speaking Spanish in America who’s been told to just “Speak English.” Ask any Asian American who was harassed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Colleagues, what chapter of our nation’s history are we choosing to write today?
  • I ask because yes, there will come a time when history judges us. And what will you say? Will you say that you worked to defend the American Dream for future generations? Or settle and deny opportunity for future generations?
  • Today, countless immigrants and children of immigrants will ask whether Republicans and Democrats will leave them behind once again.

Senator Padilla is a leading voice in the Senate for immigration reform. Padilla has repeatedly condemned the proposed threats to the asylum system and lack of legalization provisions in the national security supplemental aid package considered by the Senate earlier this year. Earlier this month, Padilla joined immigration advocates and led five of his Senate colleagues to call on President Biden to take executive action to protect long-term undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Padilla has fought relentlessly to expand a pathway to citizenship for millions of long-term U.S. residents. Padilla’s bill, the Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929, would update the existing Registry statute so that an immigrant may qualify for lawful permanent resident status if they meet certain conditions, providing a much-needed pathway to a green card for more than 8 million people, including Dreamers, TPS holders, children of long-term visa holders, essential workers, and highly skilled members of our workforce.

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