By Justina Kilumelume
Congressman Fred Upton’s reply to Student Commission’s (StuComm) demand for his support for an Immigration Reform Bill has left students disappointed in his lack of a concrete answer and failure to provide proof of his support or plan-of-action.
Despite the many protests and activities last year that demanded Upton to show support for the reform, Upton still only seems to be paying lip service.
Last quarter, StuComm sent a resolution to the congressman urging him to support the bill because it needs more Republican support so that it can be brought up on the docket for the House to vote on.
Earlier this quarter, when Upton finally replied, he said that the issue was complex and that he needed time to think about it and its consequences.
“Essentially he said nothing, but he said nothing in a very elegant way. He said he appreciates that we took some time out to write him the letter about the situation, and that he is working with his fellow congressmen on the next steps with regards to the immigration legislation,” First-Year Commissioner Amanda Johnson said.
Most people feel that personally, Congressman Upton is not actively doing enough as a Representative to move immigration reform forward. He doesn’t seem to be doing much as a voice within the Republican delegation to push for the reform, and that he is just paying lip service when he is in front of the right crowds.
“This affects a lot of people in this country. If he is one of the top leaders in the House of Representatives, I think Upton needs to lead on this issue and do what the people want, and the people want immigration reform,” said Darrin Camilleri ’14, President of StuComm.
Johnson, who has been working with immigration reform for a long time, and has even worked with Upton personally during an internship, says that she is not really surprised by his reply.
“Honestly, I am disappointed in his reply but it is kind of what I expected. He’s been on the fence for a really long time, and I think for him that’s the easiest place for him to stay – to stay neutral. I am just disappointed because I was hoping he had changed his mind.”
The lack of a certainty in Upton’s response leaves most people worried that with the coming September elections, the immigration reform discussions will come to a stand still.
“It’s frustrating and depressing to think that the elections come before the well-being and welfare of the American people,” said Johnson.
Other students, like Roxanna Mechaca ’15, were hoping for better results by 2014. “It’s very difficult to be in this predicament. I graduate next year and my parents might not be able to come. They’ve been here for 26 years, but they still don’t have legal status. The only thing to do is to continue being positive about it and keep pushing forward,” she said.