Illinois Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski explained his “present” vote on the recent bill that would have ended President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program at a recent town hall meeting.
“I don’t want to take away deferred status from anyone who has it, but I also didn’t want to send the message that it is OK to come here illegally,” Lipinski said according to a report from the Southwest City News-Herald.
Lipinski voted against the $694 million border bill to deal with the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children crossing the southern border, which passed the House. The DACA bill also passed.
He explained he voted against the bill because it did not provide enough protections for those seeking asylum but noted that America cannot take in everyone who is facing a difficult plight in their home country.
“My heart goes out to children around the world who face terrible poverty,” Lipinski said, the local paper reported. “But the United States cannot give asylum to every child in that situation. It would not be sustainable. But we should care for those who are truly in danger.”
According to the Southwest City News-Herald immigration issues were front and center at the town hall meeting which took place early this month, as a number of immigrants attended, including a Philippino college student who said he and his family overstayed their visas so that his sister could get heart surgery and another who said her family left El Salvador in the 1980s.
Lipinski stressed the borders must be secure and that Congress should deal with the issues plaguing the immigration system.
An attendee questioned why more attention has not been given to the problems in the Central American countries whose children and family units are leaving.
“Why aren’t we speaking out about human rights to the Central American countries such as Guatemala and others where these people are fleeing from?” she asked according to the Southwest City News-Herald, a contention with which Lipinski concurred.
The local paper, noted that the meeting saw many attendees who were angry at Obama including one who demand the moderate Democrat vote to impeach Obama if he takes executive action on immigration.