Actress America Ferrera, best known for her leading role on ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” waded into an issue that has often gotten ugly itself over the last few years: immigration reform.
Ferrera, a daughter of immigrants, joined Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra and other Democratic members of Congress on the steps of the Capitol today to discuss the issue.
“I am here on behalf of all Americans who are tired of the House of Representatives and its leaders refusal to act,” Ferrera said. “We are demanding a vote for the young dreamers fighting for the right to a future in the only country they have ever called home.”
“House leadership, every day that you refuse to act is another day 1,100 families are torn apart by senseless deportations,” she said, aiming her criticisms at Republicans. “So we are here demanding a vote for the families dreading that knock on the door hoping and praying that they will not be one of the 1,100 today.”
Democrats launched a long-shot procedural maneuver called a discharge petition to bring immigration reform up for a vote. But it’s an uphill battle: the move would require at least 19 House Republicans to defy Speaker Boehner and sign the petition.
“It’s not enough to simply declare your support for immigration reform,” Ferrara said. “It’s time for those 34 House Republicans to act on their word by forcing a vote on reform. We will not accept your excuses for delay.”
The actress — and the roughly 100 people who gathered behind the speakers in support — had to brave the snow and wind on the Capitol steps to make their case.
“I’d like to thank my colleagues for joining me here today, and I’m going to edit my speech because we may freeze to death,” Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., quipped when he took the microphone.