Jane Harman: My voting record isn’t anti-immigration

The Times’ March 31 article. “Latino groups to release voting score card on immigration issues,” inaccurately characterized my record on immigration policy.

Let me be clear: I support comprehensive immigration reform and providing the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in our country a path toward earned legalization.

The Times based its article on an analysis by the National Latino Congreso of seven immigration-related votes I cast from 2007 to 2009. The article said that I was “cited for votes to expand immigration enforcement to social service programs and to require those owning or renting publicly subsidized housing to prove their legal status.”

The two votes mentioned in the story were amendments to two different bills. One of the amendments provided more funding to combat benefits fraud and barred the federal government from hiring undocumented workers. The second required those living in public housing financed by federal tax dollars to establish their legal residency with secure forms of identification. Both amendments reinforced already existing laws.

Many members of both parties voted just as I did, and Democrats unanimously supported both underlying bills. The National Latino Congreso characterized those votes as anti-immigrant. The group’s leaders are entitled to their perspective.

I am the daughter of immigrants. I know firsthand the struggles and satisfactions of the immigrant communities of the South Bay. And I have been working on overhauling our immigration policy to recognize the value and contributions of hardworking immigrants.

I am working closely with many immigration groups, including the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.

I have not yet had the opportunity to work with the National Latino Congreso. I look forward to it.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) represents California’s 36th Congressional District.