Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today criticized Sen. Jon Kyl’s recent statement that Republicans would filibuster any immigration reform effort advanced this year. According to an April 8 article in the Yuma Sun, Kyl said at a recent public forum that Republicans “will do their best to slow up any other bills, like immigration reform, in the same manner” as health care reform.
“My guess is [immigration reform] won’t have the votes to pass, but political promises have been made to key constituency of the party that is in power,” the paper quoted Kyl as saying. “Republicans will use the opportunity to filibuster.”
Grijalva said such a promise – to defeat immigration reform sight unseen – suggests Kyl “has stuck his head completely in the sand on the issue. The border requires significant security measures alongside a comprehensive approach to the immigrants who are here and the criminal aliens who shouldn’t be here. Openly saying that you’ll put politics above the substance of the issue is not leadership, and it’s not what the people of the country are looking for.”
Grijalva said that rather than committing to “stop legislative business from going forward, no matter its content,” Kyl and other Republican leaders should “think seriously about how we can bring immigrants into the American economy, make our borders safe for families, and turn immigration into a twenty-first century success story rather than a political football.”
Kyl co-sponsored immigration reform in 2007 but has since reversed his position because he believes the political support necessary to pass a bill no longer exists, according to articles in the New York Times and Phoenix Business Journal.
“Millions of people are looking to Congress to make overdue and necessary changes to our broken system, yet Sen. Kyl stands as a proud roadblock to reform,” Grijalva said. “It’s hard to believe a major political party in this country is willing to stall important legislative efforts out of spite. I hope Sen. Kyl is ready to defend his position to the people of Arizona who have pushed Congress for years to pass a good bill.”