Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 18, 2014

Advocates Grade Congress on Immigration (Updated)

immigration 306 072814 445x313 Advocates Grade Congress on Immigration (Updated)

Immigration overhaul advocates hold a large rally in front of the White House Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Frustrated by lack of action and unfulfilled promises on the immigration overhaul front, a coalition of 10 advocacy groups is out to hold House members accountable for the extent to which they were unhelpful to the cause.

A new scorecard for all 435 members’ immigration votes, statements and co-sponsorships aims to draw a stark portrait of “who stands with us and who does not,” said Hispanic Federation President José Calderón. The rankings come as Congress nears a boiling point on an emergency funding request from President Barack Obama intended to mitigate the crisis at the border as children cross illegally into the United States.

The first-of-its-kind scorecard was released Monday, as advocates gathered a stone’s throw from the Capitol for the grand unveiling, calling for action and scolding lawmakers for what they see as stonewalling on a critical issue.

“Every ‘zero’ you see in that scorecard is personal to us,” said Rocio Sáenz, a member of the board of directors for Mi Familia Vota.

“There is some explaining that needs to be done as to why they said to us in private that they supported immigration reform, yet their report card says different,” said Tony Suárez, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Republicans received significantly lower rankings than Democrats. Clarissa Martínez de Castro, the deputy vice president of the National Council of La Raza Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation, said the discrepancy reflected a “Republican leadership failure,” though the organizations behind the scorecard insist the results are based on the facts and aren’t motivated by party preference.

Here’s a look at the rankings, based on members’ positions in 11 different areas over the past several months:

  • There are 234 Republicans currently serving in the House of Representatives; only 43 of the 234 received scores that exceeded 0 percent, the equivalent of a failing grade.
  • The highest score achieved by any Republican was 64 percent for Rep. David Valadao of California, one of three House GOP lawmakers to sign on as a co-sponsor to House Democrats’ comprehensive immigration overhaul bill that closely mirrors the one passed by the Senate last year. The two other co-sponsors of that effort had the second and third highest rankings on the scorecard: Jeff Denham of California got 55 percent and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida got 50 percent.
  • All members of GOP leadership received a score of 0 percent, including outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who lost his primary election to an opponent who called him the most liberal Republican on “amnesty” serving in elected office. That is, except for National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., who scored a 9 percent ranking for fulfilling one criteria on the scorecard: Making a statement “in support of immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.”
  • Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., one of the most embattled incumbents in the 2014 election cycle, received 9 percent — perhaps the lowest of any House Republican who has sought to distinguish himself as an outlier in his party on the immigration debate. Coffman, a veteran, introduced legislation to grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants who serve in the military and has said repeatedly he would fight to push his party to take action to overhaul the immigration system. Ultimately, however, he only got points from the coalition groups for his stated support of citizenship, the same as Walden.
  • Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., got a 0 percent score with the coalition groups, despite being called a friend of the immigration overhaul movement and someone whom GOP leaders would time and again dispatch to implore members of the rank and file to get on board with the effort.
  • Six of the seven members of the GOP working group tasked with making policy recommendations to stem the tide of the child migrant border surge received 0 percent — with the exception of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, who earned 30 percent and has been one of his party’s strongest voices in favor of fixing the nation’s immigration system.

Three others in the working group who received scores of 0 percent were at one time also thought to be key players in moving immigration through the legislative pipeline. Texas Rep. John Carter was, like Diaz-Balart, a member of the now-disbanded “gang of eight” working to introduce bipartisan immigration overhaul legislation, until he decided he could not trust Obama to enforce the law. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, helped draft a border security bill that cleared his panel in one of the only bipartisan votes of the immigration debate. And Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., was once thought to hold the key to moving immigration legislation forward, though he has now become one of the cause’s greatest foils.

  • Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, R-Idaho, who also left the “gang of eight,” got an 18 percent rating.
  • There are 199 Democrats currently serving in the House of Representatives. Of that number, 62 received perfect scores of 100 percent. Only eight Democrats scored below 80 percent, meaning the vast majority of lawmakers in the minority party have held positions that are consistent with the values of the coalition spearheading the scorecard.
  • The lowest Democratic score was 9 percent, for perpetually vulnerable Rep. John Barrow of Georgia. His points came from voting “yes” on a deportation-related amendment to legislation passed earlier this year.

The second lowest score was 18 percent, for another Democrat facing a difficult re-election bid this fall, Transportation and Infrastructure ranking member Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia. He picked up points for voting in favor of the same amendment as Barrow, and also for voting against a Steve King amendment to the fiscal 2015 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill to bar “the use of funds from going to citizens that have passed and enacted sanctuary cities or sanctuary political subdivisions.”

  • Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, received a 64 percent rating on the 2014 immigration scorecard for voting with Republicans on two bills that would ultimately challenge Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals executive action, voting against an amendment to the fiscal 2014 Homeland Security appropriations bill to require officials to maintain a level of no fewer than 34,000 detention beds and declining to co-sponsor legislation “to promote family unity in the immigration system.” Cuellar, a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has in recent weeks become a friend to Republicans and a foe to many fellow Democrats for supporting, in the pending border funding bill, a controversial fix to a 2008 trafficking law to make it easier for Central American children apprehended at the border to deport themselves.
  • All members of House Democratic leadership boasted high scores. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the minority whip, initially showed the lowest score, of 82 percent, among his peers because of his votes. But after this story was first published, Hoyer’s office told CQ Roll Call the scorecard is incorrect. Martínez de Castro confirmed that Hoyer’s score was calculated incorrectly and that his number would actually be higher once re-calculations are completed.

Ultimately, Hoyer’s score came out to be 91 percent, the same as Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel all got 100 percent.

  • Dave Francis

    While
    Americans are a compassionate people and feel for the dilemma of these children
    allowed to pour through the border–who are government pawns, we also know that
    these illegal aliens and the millions of others like them are overwhelming our
    welfare system. Never before have we seen an entitlement system being freely
    given away, with no real restrictions as before. Obama has opened “the second
    Chance for People” as a permanent status, instead of looking for a job. This is
    why prior President Bill Clinton stated. Not a way of life. But it’s become
    exactly that? We have laws and rules that everyone must abide by. What is it
    now—46 million Americans on food stamps? And not just Americans, but illegal
    aliens have visited the Dept of Health and Human Services to join the rolls.
    Its not just children as the mainstream liberal press pass on as headlines, but
    teenagers from 13 to 17 plus, and families. Many pregnant women with one or two
    children hanging on, that President Obama had spread the news that if they can
    reach America, then they will not have to return to the three main countries.
    That they expect the US taxpayers to feed,
    house and give the health care. President Obama is at his lowest ebb in polls,
    because of his host of major problems, from internal issues and foreign policy
    failures.

    In regards to the movement of illegal aliens
    crossing our borders and only being given a cursory health care check. Along
    with illegal aliens who escape detection, comes a hidden traveler-dangerous
    high resistant disease as tuberculosis. But with the thousand of children being
    passed on to foster homes, illegal aliens already here and into government
    processing center comes the “Chagas” highly contagious affliction. Seven years
    ago, TB proved virtually extinct in the United States. Today,
    according to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, in excess of 13,500
    new cases of TB circulate throughout the USA. Culprit: both
    legal and illegal immigration. It
    infects 14 million in South America and
    kills 50,000 people per year south of the border.

    From
    the Book: THE KISS OF DEATH by Bastien

    In Chagas, like Hep-C, the symptoms are ‘silent’ until the
    disease is advanced. But the contagion is active even when symptoms are
    ‘silent’.

    There is
    no test to screen blood supplies or those infected who may be handling your
    food. There are few overt symptoms and no medical treatment except for subduing
    symptoms in final stages. Those who carry the disease come from nations where
    the disease is endemic and mostly undiagnosed, and will consider their symptoms
    natural. Forty years of legal immigration at 1.3 million a year and illegal
    immigration at one million a year, have overwhelmed our health care agencies.
    Perhaps no one you love has been infected or denied care because ERs go
    bankrupt or facilities are so crowded that care is delayed beyond a reasonable
    or safe time.

    If you don’t live near large immigrant settlements in the USA, you may be safe. However, the New York Times reported,
    “Because the disease is most common in southern Mexico to northern Chile, the threat is greatest in American cities with immigrants
    from those areas.”

    Others may want to rattle some chains in Congress and tell
    them that you, along with 70 percent of the American public want immigration laws
    enforced and legal immigration reduced to 1965 levels of 175,000
    annually. Without enforcing the US border with Mexico, Americans have a lot more to worry about besides mere
    gun-toting, plane-flying terrorists sneaking past Homeland Security
    agents. It’s called Chagas Disease and it slides over our borders inside
    the bodies of a percentage of illegal alien migrants who walk over from Mexico at an estimated 2,000 to 8,000 each day. You might
    want to call and thank your congressional representatives for this minor
    oversight.

    This will break the back of America and cause her to
    collapse.

    This latest crisis has been weighing heavily on the minds of Americans. We have
    thought about it, discussed it at the dinner table and in conversations with
    friends. It was the beginning with the “Fast & Furious” of gun running on
    the US/Mexican border, as an ominous echo that still is ringing of corruption
    from the Justice Dept at the start of Obamas presidency; that nobody knew anything
    about the smuggling U.S. weapons to the Mexican drug cartels. But as always—nobody
    was held accountable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been
    spewing out new reams of rules and regulation that we have to comply with. After
    that it was downhill all the way, with spying on media reporters, and then the
    slaughter at the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, that he initially claimed before a worldwide audience was
    due to a video, which proved to be wrong. Under the Obama Administration—the
    DREAM ACT (DACA) is the main cause of the illegal alien invasion. Another
    disgraceful effect of his undermining immigration law is DACA people are
    processed as a priority, over persons who came to America the
    legal way.

    Then still in
    progress is the furtiveness dismantling of the military from the private to the higher
    echelon of brass, not seen on the radar. Our service men and women deployed
    abroad are being confronted with pink slips, saying your services are no longer
    needed. Then currently we have the debacle at the Vet administration, the IRS
    suppression of moderate Conservatives that have been attacked by the IRS, who
    have already renounced the Republican agenda for the National Tea Party. To be
    followed by the new illegal alien invasion that is second to Affordable Care
    Act, the illegal alien tidal wave that effects every working American.—not
    legal immigrants.

    The entire Obama whitehouse administration is a monarchy of cheating,
    where there is never any accountability or responsibility taken by such IRS Administrators as luis learner.

    If there is one resounding cry it is: “What can we do?”

    Half of Americans are living
    paycheck-to-paycheck. A smaller majority don’t want to work and prefer to leech
    the financial blood from those who are out there, trying to feed there
    families. Millions are still out of a job; many still looking. Obamacare has
    turned out to be a pretense—it’s outrageously expensive and unaffordable.
    Poverty and welfare are at an all-time high. Veteran’s benefits are in danger
    of being cut. Yet Obama wants to allow 30 million illegals to suck at the
    federal, state treasuries. It’s all about votes for a dangerous man who wants a
    third term. Obama is the worst president in the history of the United States—and the most lethal.
    He has proven his loyalty to terrorists and illegals, demonstrated utter
    disdain for America and complete
    disrespect for our military. Help us alert America and rally support to
    remove Obama from office.

    Its unconstitutional
    and a humiliation with deadly consequences. Demand Congress stops the death
    sentence. Check this site that has the phone
    Numbers and Mailing Addresses of Members of Congress at: http://www.contactingthecongress/
    to demand an end to illegal immigration and the dismantling of our military,
    which is our lifeblood against our enemies.

    We must Block amnesty
    for illegal aliens, which is entirely up to us—grassroots America—the little helpless
    citizens. You can also get alternative—NO SPIN– news
    about issues at One-America cable TV News http:/www.oann.com/
    and TeaPartypatriots.org/ teaparty.org You
    might also like to try (AliPac) http://www.alipac.us

    • Layla

      Standing ovation for you, Dave.

      The American people are going to hold Congress accountable for our unenforced immigration laws and our open borders. Obama and the Democrats are going to be held accountable for their actions in the destruction of this country, and the GOP are going to be held accountable for their inaction and lack of adherence to the Constitution and their Oaths of Office to protect this country and its people.

      There will be a price to pay for all this in November at the polls.

  • Dave Francis

    INCREDULOUS! ILLEGAL ALIENS! DEMANDING?

    Take
    note, this is really getting painful Today? illegal aliens—YES! Illegal aliens are
    flaunting their undocumented status, demonstrating outside the White House and
    ICE was there doing and saying nothing? These people were demanding Amnesty and
    financial benefits from the American people. DEMANDING! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO
    OUR LAWS? Grand Standing with signs who they are; that they are not suppose to
    even be in the United States and uniformed Park Police and immigration services
    telling them to move along. That the ICE authorities not detaining into custody
    these people and taking them away?

    The
    majority of Americans are uptight as strained piano wire about what Obama has
    threatened to do, if like a little child he doesn’t get his way. Is he going to
    open the gates wide to illegal immigrants
    as that nut case California Gov. Brown wants to provide?

    WHERE ARE THE ERUPTING
    VOICES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? Can you help Save America? Obama continues to
    overstep his boundaries. He holds utter disregard for our nation, our
    Constitution, our own people. Every chance he gets he tramples our rights in
    the name of being “king” of the land. He has violated the separation
    of powers and repeatedly put himself above the law.

    OBAMA INVITING ‘INVASION OF
    MURDERERS, GANG MEMBERS’

    Border Patrol: U.S.
    accepting them because crimes not done in U.S.
    from http://www.wnd.com

    McALLEN, Texas – As the Obama administration
    struggles to define the current wave of unaccompanied minors as a tale of
    refugees escaping violence, government border officials are telling a frighteningly
    different story of the infiltration of criminal gang members and confessed
    murderers along with thousands of potential recruits.

    Some 70 percent of the youths – boys and girls alike – have been
    raped or otherwise sexually assaulted on their dangerous trip north to the Rio Grande, according to
    officials.

    Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent for nearly 13 years and a
    vice president in the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307, spoke to WND
    and Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, in an exclusive interview at the Rio Grande border in McAllen, Texas, Saturday.

    WND asked Cabrera what the Border Patrol and the Department of
    Homeland Security do when they find out an illegal immigrant teenager from Central America is a gang member or a
    murderer.

    “What do we do?” he answered. “Well, they haven’t committed a
    crime in the United States, so they’re good to
    go, and we send them north, even if they admit they have committed a murder.”

    The situation with the illegal alien’s invaders is out of control. What I see
    coming as a result alarming me beyond anything I’ve ever known in my 52 years.

    The US Border Patrol are telling us that the illegal aliens, including the
    children, are crossing the border claiming, “Obama will take care of
    us” as if it has been carefully rehearsed—taught before they even cross
    the border into the U.S from Mexico.

    They are immediately asking about their schooling and medical care. Someway
    they are coming prepared with names of family members that live here which get
    them a ticket into our country.

    Clearly, someone carefully orchestrated it and it makes me sick.

    Half of Americans are living
    paycheck-to-paycheck. A smaller majority don’t want to work and prefer to leech
    the financial blood from those who are out there, trying to feed there
    families. A GREATER MAJORITY ARE THE AMERICANS AND ILLEGAL OR LEGAL IMMIGRANTS
    WHO WILL VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS, AS THE ARE SPENDING AS THE DEMENTED? Millions are
    still out of a job; many still looking. Obamacare has turned out to be a
    pretense—it’s outrageously expensive and unaffordable. Poverty and welfare are
    at an all-time high. Veteran’s benefits are in danger of being cut. Yet Obama
    wants to allow 30 million illegals to suck at the federal, state treasuries.
    It’s all about votes for a dangerous man who wants a third term. Obama is the
    worst president in the history of the United States—and the most lethal.
    He has proven his loyalty to terrorists and illegals, demonstrated utter
    disdain for America and complete
    disrespect for our military. Help us alert America and rally support to
    remove Obama from office.

    Its unconstitutional
    and a humiliation with deadly consequences. Demand Congress stops the death
    sentence. Check this site that has the phone
    Numbers and Mailing Addresses of Members of Congress at: http://www.contactingthecongress/
    to demand an end to illegal immigration and the dismantling of our military,
    which is our lifeblood against our enemies. This is the number for the central
    switchboard for Congress to address your grievances at 800—224-3121.

    We must Block amnesty
    for illegal aliens, which is entirely up to us—grassroots America—the little helpless
    citizens. You can also get alternative—NO SPIN– news
    about issues at One-America cable TV News http:/www.oann.com/
    and TeaPartypatriots.org/ teaparty.org You
    might also like to try (AliPac) http://www.alipac.us

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