National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead: July 29-August 2

July 29, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“Immigration is a good thing for this country. It is this country.”
— Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, at a town hall meeting in Racine, Wisconsin on July 26


Evangelical Support for Reform Continues to Grow
Results from a new CBS News poll indicate broad support for immigration reform, including widening support among evangelicals across the country. Among the 1,036 respondents, 75 percent of evangelicals expressed support for broad reform that includes the opportunity for aspiring Americans to earn citizenship — alongside border security and other important elements.

The findings capped a week during which more than 300 evangelicals and evangelical leaders from 27 states came to Washington for the Evangelical Immigration Table Day of Prayer and Action and met with more than 110 congressional offices, most of them Republican, to urge broad reform.

Bibles, Badges and Business to Home In on Local August Recess Events
As members of Congress return to their districts at the end of this week for the August recess, supporters of broad, commonsense immigration reform are planning roundtable discussions and other events in key districts across the country.

The “Roundtables for Reform” and other local gatherings will c0ntinue the drumbeat echoing all over the country in support of reform. From Colorado to Illinois, Georgia to Utah, local voices from the Bibles, Badges and Business communities will be stressing the urgency of reform throughout August to make sure their lawmakers know where they stand and that they need to act when they return to Washington.

CALENDAR: Please visit our Events page to find this week's immigration-related events.

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:

MUST READ: CBS NEWS: Are the tides turning for immigration reform in the House?
By Robert Hendin and Anthony Salvanto
July 27, 2013
It was only a week ago when prospects for the House passing broad immigration reform seemed dim. However, after hearing this week from House Republicans - not including Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa - and looking at new polling data, it seems that the tides may be turning.
Addressing the notion of immigration opposition funding primary challenges, a top Republican working to pass immigration reform told CBS News that reports of powerful and moneyed opposition to reform have been overblown.
"There's a false sense of the weight of the opposition," he said, adding that he thinks the opposition "is a paper tiger."
That analysis is more than just supposition. According to a recent analysis of political spending on immigration issue advertising, pro-immigration reform groups have outspent anti-reform groups by nearly 3-to-1, with the total spent by both sides through June still less than $10 million.
The money appears to be on the side of the supporters of reform ,and supporters believe the opposition won't have the kind of money needed to run serious challenges against House Republicans who support reform. Additionally, one of the biggest outside Republican groups that has previously been engaged in Republican primaries, the Club for Growth, hasn't taken a position on immigration reform, and instead is focused on spending and health care.
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THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT (Campo Op-Ed): Slings and arrows of immigration
By Carlos Campo
July 24, 2013
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." It has been many years since I first read that line from "Hamlet" as an undergraduate trudging through an Intro to Shakespeare class. But as I contemplate the "state" of our nation's immigration laws, "rotten" seems to be the perfect modifier.
We stand at a unique moment, with an opportunity to improve our immigration laws in a way that will honor hard work and human dignity - and improve life for all of us.
That's why I will join hundreds of evangelicals and evangelical leaders in Washington, D.C., today for the Evangelical Immigration Table's Day of Prayer and Action. We will gather amid a months-long effort during which thousands of evangelicals across the country have been praying for reform and urging action.
I see the desperate need for a new immigration process as both a Hampton Roads resident and as president of Regent University. Our rotten immigration laws dishonor the human dignity of our neighbors, here and across this great land. And they are not written strategically to build an America that respects our first principles and prepares us to be a world power well into the future.
Instead, our laws leave over 5 million people legally waiting "in line," often for decades, for a green card. Our laws fail over 400,000 people in immigration custody in a 350-facility immigrant detention system, which cost taxpayers about $2 billion in 2012.
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Carlos Campo is president of Regent University in Virginia Beach.

The Week Ahead: July 22-26

July 22, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“With the strong support of their constituents, Mr. Goodlatte and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle must transcend politics as usual and move forward with immigration reform that celebrates biblical values and American values alike. This means respect for the rule of law, secure borders and for those who seek it, the opportunity to right past wrongs and contribute to our country in the only full way possible: as citizens.”
— Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and chief counsel for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, in a July 22 Washington Times op-ed


Wednesday: Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action to Highlight Support for House Action
The Evangelical Immigration Table is planning a Day of Prayer and Action in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to stress the urgency of congressional action on immigration reform. As part of the Pray for Reform campaign, hundreds of evangelicals and evangelical leaders are coming to Washington to urge their members of Congress to take action on broad, bipartisan immigration solutions.

The day will begin with a press conference on the West Lawn of the Capitol, followed by a prayer service and meetings with more than 60 congressional offices during which national and local evangelical leaders will discuss commonsense reform that reflects the Evangelical Immigration Table’s principles. Participants also will reiterate the importance of reform that creates a path out of the shadows for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants across the country.

These leaders are encouraging their Congress to follow through and enact immigration reform that respects the rule of law as well as the God-given dignity of every person, and they are showing support for all members of Congress who show the courage to move the conversation forward. The Day of Prayer and Action reflects the growing support for commonsense immigration reform in the evangelical community, and it is part of a push for reform that will continue in the coming weeks.

Bibles, Badges and Business Leaders Meet with Congressional Leaders
Also this week, leaders from the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform (BBB) network will meet with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. On Tuesday, Galen Carey of the National Association Evangelicals; Steven Lenkart, a law enforcement expert; and Craig Regelbrugge of the American Nursery and Landscape Association are expected to meet with the House Democratic caucus. This meeting comes just after leaders in the faith, law enforcement and business communities sat down with House Republican leadership last week to discuss a path forward on immigration reform.

House Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on Undocumented Immigrants Brought Here as Kids
The Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing at 2 p.m. Tuesday on “Addressing the Immigration Status of Illegal Immigrants Brought to the United States as Children.” The hearing will have two witness panels. The first will feature four Congressmen: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-California), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois).

The second panel will feature Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research at the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Margie McHugh, Co-director of the Migration Policy Institute; Pamela Rivera, the U.S. citizen sister of a DREAMer; and Rosa Velazquez, Executive Director of the Arkansas Coalition for DREAM.

CALENDAR: Please visit our Events page to find this week's immigration-related events.

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:

MUST READ: THE ATLANTIC: Is Immigration Reform Dead? Not If Evangelicals Can Do Anything About It
By Michael Wear
July 18, 2013
The path to immigration reform has been long and divisive, and it is difficult to see the finish line even now. Despite passing the Senate with 68 votes, reform is now tied up in a House. Speaker John Boehner says he won't pass a bill without a majority of the Republican caucus, and he says the chamber will write its own bill rather than take up the Senate's. Even if that is successful, the bills will have to be reconciled in conference. In short, it's a hard slog ahead, with no quick finish in sight.
For evangelical Christians, this type of drawn-out, hard-fought legislative battle is nothing new. But for a diverse coalition of evangelical leaders and congregants, it is new to be aligned with Democrats, and prodding Republicans to do what they believe is the right -- and moral -- thing. The reform camp is relying on evangelicals to help pressure the right into agreeing to changes, and leadership of the Evangelical Immigration Table -- a group that is organizing evangelicals who support immigration reform -- will meet with House Republican leadership on July 24 to state their case, according to the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference "Evangelicals have the opportunity to be the conscience of the nation," Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas told me.
Based on interviews with evangelical leaders, political strategists, and policymakers, this is an inside look at how the evangelical movement became a major backer of immigration reform, how it turned traditional political allegiances on their head, and what the future holds.
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GREENVILLE NEWS (South Carolina) (Casey and Goodroe Op-Ed): Show courage on immigration
By Jim Goodroe and Anthony Casey
July 22, 2013
As evangelicals, we believe the Senate’s recent passage of broad, bipartisan immigration reform is a key step toward a new immigration process based on biblical principles. We commend Sen. Lindsey Graham for his leadership on this issue — and we encourage all members of Congress, in both parties, to show similar courage.
Immigration is often debated in this country in terms of political or economic terms. But for us, immigration is a deeply personal and moral issue that requires a response informed by biblical values.
Why do we as evangelical leaders care about immigration? Because immigrants in our communities are not strangers. Rather, they have become a part of our church families.
They are no longer a category of their own: They are us and we are them because of the unity we share in Christ. Our churches have come to sincerely value the immigrant as an integral part of our fellowship, and it’s clear in the Bible that we must show compassion for them and treat them with dignity and respect.
As we have come to know these individuals, we have realized that the immigration laws in our country are broken and have led to broken people and communities. Undocumented immigrants, especially, often go through tremendous challenges on a daily basis because they fear being deported, leaving their jobs and families behind.
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The Week Ahead: July 15-19

July 16, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“It’s clear from the conversation we had yesterday that the members do believe—a vast majority of our members do believe—that we have to wrestle with this problem. They also believe that we need to do this step-by-step, commonsense approach.”
— House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, after the July 10 Republican House Caucus meeting on immigration


Bibles, Badges and Business Leaders Push for Reform at Local Events
As attention focuses even more closely on the House of Representatives, the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform (BBB) network is hosting local events across the country to discuss the positive economic, spiritual, and security impact of immigration reform on a local and national level.

In Springfield, Ill., the “Illinois Voices for Immigration Reform” event Wednesday will feature the sheriff of Kane Country, the heads of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Farm Bureau’s director of national legislation and policy development, the CEO of the Christian Community Development Association and a Springfield pastor who coordinates the Hispanic Ministries of the Diocese of Springfield.

And on Friday in Lexington, Ky., faith and business leaders and immigrants will discuss the importance of immigration to the state. Speakers will include a pastor and the owners of a horse farm and the Kentucky Trade Company, among others.

From Colorado to Illinois, Utah to Kentucky, local leaders in the faith, law enforcement and business communities are making their voices heard on immigration as part of a broader national effort to let members of Congress know that they have the political support they need back home to do the right thing in Washington.

Evangelicals Set Their Sights on the House
Also at this pivotal moment, the Evangelical Immigration Table is planning a Day of Prayer and Action in Washington, D.C., on July 24 to cap off its 92-day Prayer for Reform campaign. Hundreds of evangelicals and evangelical leaders are expected in Washington for a day that will include a press conference on the west front of the Capitol, a prayer service and meetings with dozens of congressional offices.

Speakers will include leaders from around the country who will emphasize the urgent need for reform that reflects the Evangelical Immigration Table’s principles, including the need for both family unity and a secure border, and respect for human dignity as well as the rule of law. They also will underscore the importance that immigration reform include the eventual opportunity for aspiring Americans to come out of the shadows and earn citizenship.

CALENDAR: Please visit our Events page to find this week's immigration-related events.

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:

MUST READ: ARIZONA REPUBLIC (Walden and Schutte Op-Ed): Immigrant reform, with citizenship path, is in reach
By Nan Stockholm Walden and Chris Schutte
July 12, 2013
Partisan rancor has pervaded Washington for years, but a valid conversation on immigration is finally taking place in our country.
There is much reason for hope. It comes in the form of the bipartisan bill the Senate recently passed 68-32, which emphasizes human dignity and recognizes reform as good for both our communities and our economy.
Arizona’s Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake are part of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that negotiated the bill. Both voted for final passage.
Now the focus shifts to the House, where leaders must follow through with broad immigration reform.
As business and faith leaders here in Arizona, we see the need for a better immigration process — one that honors the American values of freedom and hard work, no matter what you look like or where you were born.
These are the values on which our country was founded, and they have endured as generations of immigrants have arrived on our shores. We work shoulder to shoulder with people who saw enough promise in the American dream that they were willing to uproot and move here to pursue it.
Read more:
Nan Stockholm Walden is vice president of Farmers Investment Company in Sahuarita. The Rev. Chris Schutte is rector at Christ Church Anglican in Phoenix.

POLITICO (Plouffe and Schmidt Op-Ed): Pass the immigration bill
By David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt
July 15, 2013
It’s anyone’s guess what the long-term political outcome of passing immigration reform will be. Some say passing immigration is a silver bullet for curing what ails Republicans with Hispanics. That’s wrong. But until it passes, Hispanic voters will not even listen to what Republicans offer on other issues like the economy and education. As the Republican National Committee rightly concluded in its 2012 post-mortem, “if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”
This analysis is spot-on. Immigration is about tone and values: fairness, responsibility, playing by the rules. Most importantly for Republicans in Washington, this debate is about displaying tolerance. Killing immigration reform would be the latest example of a Republican vision for a less open and less tolerant America that is wildly out of touch with voters today.
Rapidly changing demographics compound the GOP’s woes – especially at the presidential level. Since 1992, the white share of the national electorate has dropped in every presidential contest and fallen by 5 percent on average across the core battleground states in the last eight years. The Hispanic share of the electorate has nearly doubled in places like Colorado and Nevada since 2004, and Hispanics turned out in record numbers nationally in 2012.
But this isn’t just presidential-sized problem for Republicans. It can hurt many of them where they least expect it but it matters most: back home in their districts. That’s because some of the fastest-growing media markets among Hispanics are in places like Charlotte, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Kansas City – places that will matter electorally outside of the presidential race in every cycle.
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David Plouffe was campaign manager of the 2008 Obama campaign and a senior adviser to President Obama, and Steve Schmidt was senior adviser to the 2008 McCain campaign and an adviser in the George W. Bush administration.

YAHOO NEWS: Boehner: ‘Vast majority’ of House GOP want to act on immigration; Pelosi points to support from ‘Bible folks’
By Chris Moody
July 11, 2013
After months of being told to hurry up on immigration, it's time to wait.
House Republicans said they plan to act, but not in haste, after huddling in a closed-door meeting to discuss how to proceed on an immigration bill.
While the chamber intends to proceed on immigration, Speaker John Boehner reiterated on Thursday that the House would not take up the Senate immigration bill that passed last month with bipartisan support. Several House Republicans offered their perspectives on the issue during their meeting, Boehner said, concluding that “a vast majority” of the conference wants to see a bill passed that addresses border enforcement and the approximately 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
“It’s clear from the conversation we had yesterday that the members do believe—a vast majority of our members do believe—that we have to wrestle with this problem,” Boehner told reporters Thursday. “They also believe that we need to do this step-by-step common sense approach.”
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The Week Ahead: July 1-5

July 01, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“Today, an overwhelming majority of senators moved us one important step closer to passing comprehensive immigration reform. This bill, should it become law, will enable us to win the global battle for talent and remain the world’s most entrepreneurial nation. I applaud the bipartisan decision in the Senate and encourage leaders in the House to seize the opportunity because America needs a smarter immigration system that meets the needs of our 21st century economy.”
— Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC and Co-Founder of America Online, following Senate passage of S. 744 June 27.

Immigration Reform: House Up Next Following Bipartisan Passage in Senate
Adapted from Friday's Policy Update by Maurice Belanger

On Thursday, the Senate voted to pass the sweeping immigration reform legislation introduced in April by the bipartisan “gang of eight.” The vote on final passage was 68 to 32. Majority leader Harry Reid underscored the importance of the vote by having Senators vote from their desks as the clerk called the roll — a formality generally reserved only for the most momentous votes. Vice President Joe Biden presided, and the final vote took place before a packed Senate Gallery.

Now the pressure is on the House of Representatives to act. Congress is in recess this week for the July 4 holiday, but House Republicans already plan to meet on July 10, after their return, and discuss how to proceed on immigration.

Opponents of reform are in a stronger position in the House, but the eyes of the nation are now focused on House leaders. House decision makers also are hearing support for broad reform from across the political spectrum, including the nation's Bibles, Badges and Business leaders and the Evangelical Immigration Table — networks whose support in the Senate helped create space for the introduction and passage of a broad, bipartisan bill.

Tuesday: Bethlehem Project to Launch Citywide in Los Angeles
On Tuesday, just in time for Fourth of July citizenship celebrations, the Bethlehem Project will launch citywide in Los Angeles with an in-person press conference at 9 a.m. PDT at American Apparel.

A project of the National Immigration Forum, the Bethlehem Project facilitates immigrant integration by assisting local business partners' eligible immigrant employees with the citizenship process. As a result, they become more valuable workers and full participants in the workplace, community and economy.

Tuesday's press conference will highlight American Apparel's participation, the addition of the AltaMed health care network and increasing interest among other Los Angeles businesses. Speakers will include leaders from these businesses, the Forum and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as an American Apparel employee who is participating in the program.

CALENDAR:Please visit our Events page to find this week's immigration-related events.

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:

MUST READ: NEW YORK TIMES: Immigration Advocates Lay Plans to Sway House
By Julia Preston
June 28, 2013
WASHINGTON — Even as they were popping corks on Thursday night after a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate to pass an immigration bill, supporters of the overhaul were laying plans for the far more difficult task of moving something similar through the Republican-controlled House.
Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio insisted on Thursday that the House would not take up the Senate bill and would pass its own measure only if a majority of Republicans backed it, instead of relying more on Democratic votes. As a sign of the conservative direction of the debate in the House, its Judiciary Committee recently approved a bill to enforce immigration laws inside the country that was much tougher than anything from the Senate. The House has yet to produce a bill that includes a core piece of the Senate legislation: a path to citizenship for 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country.
While supporters are hardly confident, they say House Republicans will soon discover a crucial difference this year from failed immigration efforts of the past. They say their coalition is broader and far more energized and committed than in 2007, when an immigration overhaul by President George W. Bush did not even reach a vote in the Senate.
Latinos, who showed their voting clout when they overwhelmingly supported President Obama last November, are a leading force, but are not the only one, supporters said. Business and technology industry groups, labor unions, agricultural growers, farmworkers, law enforcement associations, churches, educators, youth groups and other immigrant organizations are also in the mix.
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GANNETT NEWS SERVICE: Senate passes sweeping immigration reform bill
By Erin Kelly
June 28, 2013
Immigration reform advocates and opponents are turning their attention to the House after the Senate’s passage of a landmark immigration reform bill to boost border security and provide a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
The Senate passed the historic 1,200-plus page bill Thursday by a vote of 68-32. Fourteen Republican senators joined all 52 Democrats and two independents to pass the bill, which was crafted by a bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators that included Arizona Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake. Louisiana senators split on the bill with Democrat Mary Landrieu voting in favor of it and Republican David Vitter voting against it.
“The Senate’s passage of a major immigration reform bill is a milestone, but it is only half the battle,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration expert and law professor at Cornell University Law School. “A tougher battle lies ahead in the House.”
House Speaker John Boehner vowed that the House would take up its own legislation rather than voting on the bipartisan Senate bill.
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