Menendez: Immigration Reform is Far From Dead

Menendez: Immigration Reform is Far From Dead

Those Who Support Immigration Reform Can Win

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, today addressed the future of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) before a roundtable of Hispanic media. Click here to view photos from the roundtable.

Below are excerpts from the discussion:

Menendez on the impact of Rep. Eric Cantor's defeat on passing CIR:

"Eric Cantor has never been a proponent of immigration reform. He's blocked a vote in the House on citizenship. He's campaigned on his opposition to reform. He's failed to lead on immigration reform... Some people say, 'Well you know, his opponent had made that a main issue.' Well, Lindsay Graham, one of the Gang of 8, won with 60 percent of the vote yesterday in South Carolina. So, those who face the issue, explain it, and defend their positions are individuals who can win in tough Republican states. South Carolina is a tough primary state. Lindsay Graham won with 60 percent of the votes. Plus, 72 percent of people coming out of Cantor's district... said yesterday that they supported immigration reform, while 62 percent of the people disapproved of Cantor. So, I think that his defeat is far more along the lines of what he did or did not do with his constituency than anything about immigration reform. So, I think we are way overestimating the situation by saying Congressman Cantor lost because of the issue of comprehensive immigration reform."

Menendez on passing CIR in the House:

"I refuse to give up. I reiterate my view: If our bill was to be put to a vote in the House, it would pass. It would pass not only with Democratic votes, but with a fair number of Republicans who would vote for that bill. Now, if the Speaker does not want to do that, then fine, and then show us what you consider to be comprehensive immigration reform. Maybe we can then get into a negotiation. Since last year, when we passed CIR with 67 votes, the only votes that have been permitted in the House of Representatives during the course of that year have been to repeal DACA, deport DREAMers, and to say the President is not enforcing the law enough."

Menendez on whether CIR is dead:

"I don't think that's the case at all... there are a fair amount of Republicans, including those who talk to me, that want to see an opportunity for a vote on reform. And, what I tell them is to go quietly tell the Speaker that you support the effort, because it is the Speaker who can ultimately bring this to a vote. Let's not lose sight that at the end of the day, you have to have leadership on this issue, and if the Speaker decides that this is coming for a vote, then there will be a vote. And, Members will have to choose... But those of us who believe in immigration reform defeat ourselves by adopting the narrative that this is dead. Nothing should be allowed to be declared dead. So it is foolish to say that this is the narrative for those who have never wanted immigration reform in the first place. They are the minority and we cannot allow the minority to be the voices of the majority."