I come from a working-class family and I have always been with the people. When I was a young boy, my mother would take me to visit family in Monterrey, Mexico. As a young adult, I backpacked throughout Latin America in awe of the hospitality and generosity of people living there.

I have spent my entire adult life living and working in South Texas – fighting as a lawyer for the less fortunate – and I have seen, first-hand, the value that immigrants, especially DREAMers, bring to our country. More than 70 percent of DREAMers are pursuing a higher education and 75 percent are gainfully employed.

There is no question that DREAMers are Americans in every way except one—on paper. I have co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to give our DREAMers a pathway to citizenship and another that would allow them to enlist in the military and earn legal status upon honorable completion of their contracts. I condemned President Donald J. Trump’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September 2017 and sounded the alarm when a group of DACA recipients was detained at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Station later that month. Thanks in part to this effort, the Department of Homeland Security altered its policy at checkpoints across Texas. As you can see, my support for these individuals is resolute.

At the same time that DACA was unravelling, funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), was also close to lapsing. CHIP provides healthcare to 9 million children across the country, including 1,075,214 in Texas and 55,241 in the Congressional District that I represent. Once again, I pledged my support for our children and a long-term reauthorization for this critical program.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded and operational. Unfortunately, a legislative fix to protect DACA recipients was not included despite an earlier promise from President Trump. No one should ever make a promise they cannot keep.

The resolution, however, did include a six-year reauthorization for CHIP, which is due to run out of funding in February 2018. With CHIP set to expire in a matter of weeks, and tens of thousands of children about to lose their healthcare, I believed passing legislation reauthorizing the program for six years, the longest the program has ever been reauthorized, to be the responsible vote.

In addition, our country is facing one of the most serious outbreaks of the flu. Shutting the government would halt research being conducted by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the deadly virus that has already claimed the lives of more than 30 children.

Supporting the resolution to fund CHIP, the CDC, and to keep the government open did not diminish my desire to help thousands of DREAMers obtain permanent status.

Since coming to Congress fixing our broken immigration system has been a priority of mine. Over the past months, I have been working with the Administration, Congressional leadership, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Problem Solvers Caucus to negotiate a deal on DACA and to prevent the construction of a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. I have brought Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to visit with La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) and Central American refugees at the Humanitarian Respite Center, partnered with Congressman Filemon Vela to “Build Bridges, Not Walls,” and worked with my neighbors to the west Congressmen Henry Cuellar and Will Hurd to support commonsense solutions for border security and emphasize the need for positive relationships with our neighbors in Mexico and Central America. I will continue to do this because I want South Texans to be heard, and not left behind.

I came to Congress to govern – to work for all. I took an oath to serve the people of South Texas – seniors, people with disabilities, and children that need healthcare now.

It is disheartening that leadership at LUPE is now being critical of a vote to guarantee six years of health insurance for thousands of children in the Rio Grande Valley, avert a costly government shutdown, and to keep the government open so that leadership in Congress could continue working together in good faith, to reach a compromise on DACA.

My responsibility as a Congressman is to each and every citizen of the 15th District of Texas, not just some, and that responsibility is carried out, in part, through my votes in the U.S. House of Representatives. As representatives, we cannot blind ourselves to the facts. We should always be smart, not just loud in all we do.

4 COMMENTS

  1. We understand your position, congressman. GOP put all Democrats in an impossible situation. Let’s not forget that the DREAM Act and/or DACA PROTECTS my fellow veterans who are immigrants FROM getting deported. Which is especially important because honorable military service GUARANTEES U.S. citizenship by law, but REPUBLICANS don’t care. REPUBLICANS are allowing ICE and BP to deport our honorable veterans as well as innocent and hardworking non-veteran immigrants who (as you yourself pointed out) practically Americans due to the time they spent here as law abiding people.
    But you still made a mistake. Republicans had dozens of opportunities to NOT allow CHIP to expire last year, but they refused. This is a Republican shutdown, sir. LUPE is not to blame. You did make a mistake, but you can redeem yourself. Your article here, blaming it on LUPE, is not the way to redeem your mistake.
    I’ve personally seen you stand on the congressional floor and introduce legislation to help bring back deported military veterans AND in justified opposition of the border wall.
    Long story short, you made a mistake, congressman. LUPE will be sated if you apologize for that mistake and ask what you can do to fix it for them. LUPE is also our backbone here in South Texas, congressman. Cesar Chavez made sure of that, and he made sure us Mexican Americans are treated FAIRLY and given EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES.

    Please, listen to your own party next time. Democrats are fighting for the 99%, not the 1% rich elite who want to control everything.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=xKUTqPDXA1A

    http://www.politicususa.com/2018/01/21/democrats-asked-10-times-end-trump-shutdown-republicans-keep-saying-no.html

    It’s no secret that Republicans have been intentionally obtuse and non-compromising. In fact, the last 4+ government shutdowns were solely the cause of the Republican party.

  2. As I have stated on your Facebook and Twitter page, I am dissappointed in your vote and you can see a shutdown happened anyway but now we no where you stand on this issue. You represent an area under attack by Republicans everyday and when we elect you to represent us we expect you to defend all of us because we stand together. I am a first generation American Citizen but I know that I could have been one of the DACA folks just as easily if not for good timing by my parents at the time I am lucky but they were not.

    I will remember your vote…

  3. Good move US Rep Gonzalez.

    You and other Democrats stood firm on CHIP funding the next six years. That was a good move that’s helps millions of US families children.

    The “kicking the can” again for three weeks is kind of last chance for gas.

    The US federal budget 2017 October to 2018 September should have been “fully resolved” by Labor Day. That used to be the norm in prior decades of Congress who compromised on federal annual budgets.

    I understand there are 20 something federal agencies that need to be funded. As the USA population grows, so does funding needs. Federal Highways, military, homeland security.

    However, the Republicans not only got their federal 1 1/2 TRILLION deficit tax breaks (helped less than 25 of working families), they want to cut domestic programs to off set their soon to be ballooning federal deficits.

    DACA, Republican okay but not their parents. Come on man, if you have Christian values, you don’t break up families by deporting their undocumented parents. Simple as that.

    Btw, DACA numbers are dwindling because their federal approval expired. They estimate is 150 per day.
    Out of 10-12 million undocumented, there are 800k DACAs who are divorces, lawyers, teachers, police officers etc…plenty of hard working families paying state and local taxes. Make DACA citizens and they’ll will have to start paying federal income taxes and help reduce the federal deficits.

    Btw, liberal spending of 20 billion dollars for border fence by borrowing money on the taxpayers is not a conservative trait.

    During the meeting of both parties with Trump at the cabinate table,
    Rep Cuellar told Trump 40% of illegals/undocumented (out of 10-12 million) are here because of expired visas. Then Vuelkar tried to explained border fences does not work per border patrol and Trump brushed him off.
    All of the national news did not cover this important information.

    VOTE, if you don’t vote, it gets worst. Btw, fill out the census correctly or we all lose. Too long to explain.