California’s 14th Congressional District has a rich history of immigration. As a daughter of an immigrant, she understands that our country was built by the hard work, determination, and dreams of those who came to America in search of a better life. Unfortunately, today’s America fails to live up to the ideals that drew people to seek opportunity and safety within our borders.
The Trump Administration’s cruel and punitive policies dismantled our immigration system and gutted essential protections and programs for asylum seekers and others. It fomented instability and fear across immigrant communities and caused a humanitarian crisis on our Southwest Border through policies such as family separation, Remain in Mexico, and other changes to restrict entry for those seeking humanitarian protection. To conduct oversight of conditions at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) border facilities, Congresswoman Speier led two congressional delegations to South Texas and observed firsthand the heartbreaking impact of Trump’s policy of forcibly separating families.
In 2018, she consoled mothers at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility who had no information about their separated children and visited a tender-aged child shelter that housed toddlers and babies separated from their parents. In July 2019, she crossed into Mexico to meet with migrants camped near the border as they waited to ask for asylum in the United States. On both trips, she was deeply horrified by overcrowded and inhumane conditions at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) holding and processing facilities. She published an op-ed detailing the shameful conditions she saw at the border to spur desperately-needed reform. Through her position on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Congresswoman Speier has also fought for accountability for the abuses she’s witnessed.
In the wake of the Trump Administration, Congress and President Biden must work together to develop long-term strategies for a functioning immigration system that reflects American values, furthers American interests, and protects the rights of immigrants. Congresswoman Speier supports reforms to provide status to undocumented immigrants, restore our refugee program, reform visa programs like the H-1B visa that fail to protect immigrants and American workers, and address the root causes of migration in Central America.
Congresswoman Speier is a longtime champion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that provided relief to 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States as children and call America home. She was outspoken in her condemnation of the Trump Administration’s attempts to strip DACA recipients of their protections and has highlighted the contributions of Dreamers in California’s 14th Congressional District. In March 2021, Rep. Speier voted for H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, which would prevent the deportation of DACA-eligible individuals and certain Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and create a pathway for citizenship.
Congresswoman Speier is also a strong advocate for reforming the immigration detention system, a multi-billion-dollar industry that profits from the mass detention of immigrants. The two largest prison companies with ICE detention contracts – which skirted ethics laws to donate to President Trump’s inauguration fund during the 2016 cycle – netted hundreds of millions of dollars from DHS contracts while Trump was in office. In the 116th Congress, Congresswoman Speier included a provision in her sweeping ethics bill, the RIGHT Act, to change this pay-for-play mentality and incentive for the Administration to detain immigrants by preventing companies that benefit from government contracts from donating to inauguration funds.
Congresswoman Speier is a member of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, which works to find sensible solutions to the issues that plague our immigration system and particularly focuses on the rights of immigrant women and children. She is also a member of the bipartisan Congressional Refugee Caucus.