Last updated on: 12/6/2007 | Author:

Sheila Jackson Lee, JD Biography

U.S. Representative (D-TX)
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Government Allow a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?"

“My friends, no one knows better than we here in this room that our nation’s immigration system is broken. Without the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform, our nation’s security will remain vulnerable while our communities of hardworking, tax-paying, law-abiding immigrants continue to be exploited and marginalized. That is why we must pass legislation this year. In my view, the problem we face is so urgent that failure or delay simply is not a viable option. The Congress and the Federal Government has already ignored the problem for too long.

As I have often said, immigration is a national security issue. But it is also a matter of life and death for many living along the border. Each day hundreds of people traverse our borders. The vast majority of them come here in search only of better lives for themselves and their families. They come to fill low-paying jobs at businesses and farms, many of which struggle with real labor shortages.

As a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee and the ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, Claims, I did not need the Republicans to conduct a traveling circus to know how important border control is to our national security. We have long known that our borders must be secure and that our immigration system must be overhauled. But unlike those out-of-touch Washington politicians who believe all our problems will be solved by constructing a Steel Wall or Iron Curtain along our southern border, you and I recognize that the only lasting solution to the pending crisis is to reform the immigration system in a manner that it is both comprehensive and humane. Otherwise, we will be revisiting this problem in a decade if not sooner.”

“Winning the Future: The Fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” 16th Annual National Membership Convention Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Aug. 4, 2006

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • U.S. Representative (D-TX), 1994-present
  • Recipient of the 2006 Award for Policy at the 16th Annual Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards
  • Council Member, Houston City Council, 1989-1994
  • Municipal Judge, Houston, Texas, 1987-1990
  • First Vice-chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Founder, member, and co-chair of the Congressional Children’s Caucus, the Afghan Caucus, Pakistan Caucus, and Algerian Caucus
  • Honored by Ebony magazine as one of the “100 Most Fascinating Black Women of the Century”
  • JD, University of Virginia Law School, 1975
  • BA, Political Science, Yale University, 1972
  • High School Diploma, Jamaica High School, New York, 1966
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