On Thursday, the legislation advocating the deportation of non-citizens convicted of DUIs saw more than a two-thirds majority of House Democrats opposing it, despite ultimately passing with bipartisan support.
The Protect Our Communities from DUIs Act gained approval as 59 Democrats aligned with all 215 voting Republicans, while 150 Democrats opposed the measure. Seven lawmakers, including three Republicans and four Democrats, abstained from casting a vote.
Proposed by Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL), the bill aims to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, declaring that non-citizens with convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are “inadmissible and deportable.”
Expressing his satisfaction, Moore remarked that it was “good news” that 59 Democrats had “wised up” and supported his proposal. However, he tempered his enthusiasm by asserting that President Joe Biden still permitted the entry of unvetted individuals, posing a potential threat to American families.
On the other side, Rep. Don Davis (D-NC), who voted in favor of the bill, highlighted the legislation’s creation of a new authority to deport individuals unlawfully present in the country and driving under the influence. Davis emphasized the importance of upholding public safety at all costs.
Contrastingly, some Democrats voiced their opposition to the legislation. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), a member of the leftist “Squad,” was among the dissenters.
In a statement, Tlaib argued that the bill could result in the deportation of immigrant neighbors who arrived legally and have been part of communities for decades, all due to a single misdemeanor DUI conviction. She asserted that such an outcome would create a system of justice that is separate and unequal, emphasizing the potential disruption to families.
The debate surrounding the Protect Our Communities from DUIs Act showcases the complex perspectives within the Democratic party. While a substantial portion opposed the legislation, highlighting concerns about potential injustices and family separations, others, like Rep. Don Davis, emphasized the imperative of prioritizing public safety.
As the bill advances, it remains to be seen how the intersection of immigration policies and criminal offenses will be navigated, and whether further amendments or compromises will be proposed to address the varied perspectives within the legislative landscape.