Filemon Vela

Representing the 34 District of Texas

Immigration

Immigration has played a crucial role in the formation and development of our country. The United States has been a beacon of hope for people fleeing religious, economic, and political oppression, and immigrants have given back to the United States through their hard work and innovation.  Across our nation, immigrants continue to make lasting contributions to our economy, but our immigration system is broken. Today, approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the United States and have strong ties to this country remain in the shadows. Many have U.S. citizen children and jobs that are essential to our economy, but they are unable to adjust their legal status. That is why I have introduced and co-sponsored bills which provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants without tying immigration reform to vague border security metrics.

Immigration reform policies I continue to fight for: 

Protecting Dreamers: Minors who came to the United States through no fault of their own should be protected from deportation. I want to ensure that there is a commitment by Congress to keep this program in place. That is why I am a co-sponsor of the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019. Under this bill, beneficiaries and other DREAMers can apply for conditional permanent resident (CPR) status. After three years of conditional permanent resident status and a clean record, those granted CPR status can obtain full lawful permanent resident status and eventually, citizenship. 

Protecting Asylum Seekers: The current administration’s policies toward asylum seekers are punitive, arbitrary, and offensive to our values as a nation. The United States has a legal obligation to provide protections to refugees and asylum seekers yet, the “Migrant Protection Protocols” policy, the zero tolerance policy, multiple asylum-eligibility bans, and metering at our land ports of entry have effectively closed America’s doors to individuals fleeing persecution. As the U.S. Representative for the 34th Congressional District of Texas, I have requested that the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on the Judiciary conduct oversight hearings on the “Migrant Protection Protocols” policy, the implementation of asylum hearings at tent courts, metering, and on the Third Country Transit Bar.

As the conditions on the ground continue to evolve and as safety and public health concerns grow, a better understanding of how these policies are being implemented can directly impact our asylum system, the outcome of pending asylum claims and the quality of life of vulnerable displaced families, including hundreds of babies and thousands of children, who are forced to wait in Mexico for their hearings.