June 11, 2014

HIRONO EXPRESSES CONCERN FOR HUMANITARIAN CRISIS ON U.S. BORDER, CALLS FOR HOUSE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION REFORM AS A SOLUTION

Hirono Called On Homeland Security Secretary Johnson, Colleagues To Protect Unaccompanied Children Detained Near The U.S. Border

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement today reaffirming her support for comprehensive immigration reform and expressing her outrage with the recent situation where unaccompanied children have been detained near the southern U.S. Border. Hirono urged her colleagues and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to join her in protecting these children by supporting and passing comprehensive immigration reform.

“Opponents of comprehensive immigration reform have declared that efforts to fix our broken immigration system have failed. But today’s hearing should only strengthen our resolve – advocates for reform must push harder to share the stories of the families who remain in the shadows and are separated from loved ones. That is why I have expressed to Homeland Security Secretary Johnson my interest in leading a group of lawmakers to see the conditions that thousands of immigrant children are facing in this unfolding humanitarian crisis, and to hear their families’ stories. We must do something to protect these children. Just as the fight for civil rights was an arduous effort that required broad and sustained support beyond elected officials, more work needs to be done to show our nation’s leaders that the vast majority of the American people are fully behind fair, family-focused and comprehensive immigration reform.”

Hirono directly expressed to Homeland Security Secretary Johnson her interest in visiting the children during today’s Judiciary Committee hearing. Watch her testimony here: http://youtu.be/ctLeDMEadDU.

The U.S. Senate’s only immigrant, Hirono worked closely with colleagues to shape the Senate’s immigration reform bill in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor, attaching 11 amendments to the bipartisan bill that passed last year. Since the bill’s passage, Hirono has worked to support immigration reform by joining Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) in introducing legislation such as the Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for DREAMers Act, which would make the University of Hawaii system eligible for federal funding as part of a new $750 million initiative to reward states like Hawaii that offer in-state tuition and need-based financial aid to qualified students regardless of immigration status.