LOS ANGELES, CA – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), released the following statement today in response to the U.S. House of Representatives vote passing the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act bill (H.R. 3697):

“This bill is in keeping with the very worst traditions of nativist lawmaking, falling in line with immigrant stereotyping in congressional enactments of a century ago. This bill would essentially permit arbitrary and discriminatory decision-making. It is not consistent with how constitutional doctrines of due process and equal protection have evolved since the early twentieth century. Labeling Latino immigrants as ‘gang members' is a despicable means of misdirecting public discourse on immigration policy away from where it should be – a reasoned discussion about reform that is in the best interests of our national people and principles.”