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Press Release

Rep. Castor Opposes GOP Extreme Un-American Child Deportation Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) voted no on the Republican-led H.R. 2, the “Child Deportation Act.” The legislation does little to fix America’s broken immigration laws and fails to provide a legal pathway to Dreamers who have been in limbo for too long. The bill would subject unaccompanied children to some of the harshest detention and deportation practices and strip essential funding for the successful, cost-effective Alternative to Detention Case Management initiative. It would hinder Customs and Border Patrol agents’ ability to fairly and efficiently process asylum seekers. The bill would gut Florida non-profit organizations like Lutheran Services, Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, Catholic Charities and Church World Service that assist refugees and asylum seekers. These faith-based organizations provide life-saving aid to children and families fleeing horrific conditions. On top of all this, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this bill would increase the deficit by over $6 billion in the next decade. 

“America and the Tampa Bay area are rich with hardworking people who immigrated here from across the world seeking to build a better life for their families,” said Castor. “Instead of reforming America’s immigration laws, MAGA Republicans are doubling down on the costly and ineffective policies that fuel chaos, confusion and heartache. This unhelpful, unjust and un-American bill fails to offer a single meaningful solution to address the real challenges at the border. Democrats have offered solutions for new legal pathways to work and citizenship, secure ports of entry, drug detection technology, and advanced inspection systems to ensure CBP and local communities have the resources they need.  As America grapples with a labor shortage, it would make better economic sense to open pathways to work while targeting smuggling networks that lie and mislead migrants.” 

“There have to be some changes at the border, and we acknowledge that as a service provider, but I’m afraid this legislation will have a counterproductive impact on us and others. We prefer a much more comprehensive and integrated approach to reforming our refugee and immigration policy,” said Mike Carroll, Executive Vice President of Programs at Lutheran Services Florida

Organizations throughout Tampa Bay have voiced significant concerns with the Child Deportation Act. Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, a local affiliate of HIAS that provides resettlement assistance to refugees, joined HIAS in staunchly opposing the Child Deportation Act:  “HIAS recognizes that there are real and significant challenges that plague U.S. asylum and border policies, but H.R. 2’s provisions are extreme to the point of absurdity. Instead of seeking common-sense measures that would help to make the asylum system more efficient while also respecting the fundamental right to seek asylum, this bill seeks to obliterate very basic tenets of U.S. asylum law and harm people seeking safety in the process.” 

U.S. Rep. Castor has been a champion for her neighbors seeking a better life in America. Throughout her time in elected office, Castor has worked to unite Tampa Bay behind our Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and other neighbors seeking to build a better life. In Tampa, she has held town halls, public meetings and roundtables focused on immigration, where she was joined by legal experts and community leaders to answer questions and provide updates and guidance on U.S. immigration policies. This year, Castor launched “Centro de Bienvenida”—a monthly event that brings together local leaders and organizations to provide assistance to legal parolees from Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti and Nicaragua with school placement, skills training, and much more. The next event will be held on May 15 at 10 A.M. at the Egypt Lake Recreation Center. In Washington, Castor has fought for improvements to U.S. immigration policies—including a legal pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and certain TPS holders and improvements to initiatives for temporary agricultural workers.