National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead: August 26-30

August 26, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“I believe that 90 percent of immigrants come here for the same reason our ancestors did: to have a better life.”

— GOP Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL-06) at an August 21 luncheon in Gardendale, Ala.

SUMMARY

Local Recess Events Press House Members for Action on Immigration Reform
As August nears its close, the intense focus of the Bibles, Badges and Business network is reaping dividends. Last week, Congressman John Carter (TX-31) expressed the nation's need for immigration reform at a BBB roundtable in Belton, Texas (see “Must Read” item below). A few days later, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) expressed his support for an earned pathway to citizenship for the first time. And in Alabama, Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL-06) said he believes immigrants who lack documentation should have the opportunity to earn citizenship (see Quote of the Week above).

With Congress due back in two weeks, the momentum is only growing. Bibles, Badges and Business leaders are only stepping up events across the country while members of Congress are still home: Roundtables and other events this week will take place in Brigham City, Utah; Neenah, Wis.; Cincinnati; Lafayette, Ind.; Orange Park, Fla.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Nashville; and Bloomington, Minn. The roundtables feature local leaders in the faith, law enforcement and business communities urging their members of Congress to take action on immigration reform after they return from recess in September.

Stay up to date on all of the BBB network’s efforts at http://www.bbbwinsaugust.com.

Faith, Law Enforcement and Business Leaders Hold Statewide Telephonics
In addition to this week’s roundtables, leaders in five key states will participate in press calls to underscore their support for comprehensive immigration reform. On Wednesday, leaders from Florida, Texas and California’s evangelical, law enforcement and business communities will join statewide press calls to discuss the importance of immigration to their states. On Thursday, prominent North Carolina and Illinois leaders will hold similar calls. For more information on these press calls, including dial-in information, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 202-383-5994.

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

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ: NEW YORK TIMES: Catholic Leaders to Take Immigration Push to the Pews
By ASHLEY PARKER and MICHAEL D. SHEAR
August 21, 2013
WASHINGTON — Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the country will preach a coordinated message next month backing changes in immigration policy, with some using Sunday Masses on Sept. 8 to urge Congressional passage of a legislative overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.
The decision to embrace political action from the pulpit is part of a broader effort by the Roman Catholic Church and other faith groups that support President Obama’s call for new immigration laws. It includes advertising and phone calls directed at 60 Catholic Republican lawmakers and “prayerful marches” in Congressional districts where the issue has become a divisive topic.
“We want to try to pull out all the stops,” said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the immigration issue was at a now-or-never moment. “They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you’re not successful during the summer, you’re not going to win by the end of the year.”
Catholic leaders, who have tried regularly to wield their clout against Mr. Obama on issues like abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage, are betting that their congregations will be able to exert pressure on reluctant Republicans and wavering Democrats to support the president on immigration. They say they are motivated by the Bible’s teachings and by the reality that many Latino immigrants are Catholics and represent a critical demographic for the church.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/us/politics/catholic-leaders-to-take-immigration-push-to-the-pews.html

WASHINGTON POST (Sargent Post): Here’s what it looks like when a conservative Republican wants immigration reform
By Greg Sargent
August 22, 2013
For some time now, the House conservative posture on immigration reform has been largely defined by GOP Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Steve King. Goodlatte has given voice to the widespread GOP desire to stall reform by addressing it in pieces. King has amplified the raw nativism below the surface of opposition to reform for some — though by no means most — on the right. Fair or not, King has helped tar the GOP among Latinos with an image the party wants to shake.
So it’s worth taking note when a conservative House Republican makes the case for comprehensive immigration reform on humanitarian grounds.
GOP Rep. John Carter of Texas is a member of the House gang of seven, which is set to unveil a compromise this year with citizenship and strict conditions. He is a border state conservative who opposed reform last time. And in a press conference that was reported on by the Kildeen Daily Herald, he made this case:
“Part of what’s wrong with our immigration system is that we keep trying to patch it up,” Carter said. “We need comprehensive reform.”
Reform includes taking into account the needs of business owners, especially in the technology industry, where many companies hire employees from overseas to fill the sector’s jobs. [...]
Reform also includes tackling the difficult problem of just what to do with the nation’s millions of undocumented immigrants. Carter said part of the group’s reforms would ask them to admit they entered the country without proper documentation.
“We don’t want to reward bad behavior,” Carter said. “They are going to have to admit that they’ve come here illegally.” [...]
Carter also called for compassion for those the policy will impact, pointing to the presence of local religious leaders present at the meeting Monday
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/08/22/heres-what-it-looks-like-when-a-conservative-republican-wants-immigration-reform/

FOX NEWS LATINO: Immigration Reform Does Not Rest During Congressional Summer Recess
Aug. 21, 2013
It may be quieter than usual on Capitol Hill with lawmakers on summer recess.
But the pressure to act on immigration hardly has subsided.
In town halls back in the politicians’ home districts, the topic of immigration is arising, and often dominating, as lawmakers meet with their constituents to gauge their feelings on various issues. And several groups on opposing sides of the immigration debate have planned rallies and ad campaigns aimed at influencing the immigration reform effort.
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who was part of the so-called Gang of Eight – four Democrats and four Republicans – who drafted a comprehensive immigration reform bill that the Senate passed in June, has spent part of his summer recess urging his constituents to lobby the state’s congressional delegation to support the measure.
But in a Virginia town hall, Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, told the audience that that the House must chart its own course on immigration even if it never results in a bill President Barack Obama can sign.
He said that he’ll do everything he can to ensure the House never takes up the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill. Goodlatte said the House will proceed with individual immigration bills once lawmakers return to Washington in September from their summer recess, beginning with bills on interior enforcement, border security and workplace verification.
Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2013/08/21/immigration-reform-does-not-rest-during-congressional-summer-recess/

HUFFINGTON POST (Noorani Post): Detention Costs Convey Immigration Reform's Urgency
By Ali Noorani
August 22, 2013
Imagine if Congress could save Americans $1.44 billion in one simple step.
Well, it can -- by making sure immigration reform includes smarter policies for detaining unauthorized immigrants.
Broad immigration reform will be good for our nation's bottom line for a multitude of reasons. Immigrants are key to American ingenuity and competitiveness, and new Americans take risks and help create jobs.
Immigrants even strengthen the U.S. housing market.
Our immigrant detention policies not only lock up the financial contributions of immigrants, but also cost us $5 million per day.
Those of us who want our government to spend our money more wisely can point to the huge potential for reform to save on detention costs. With a streamlined legal immigration process, fewer immigrants will end up in detention.
The dollar amounts are not small change.
According to "The Math of Immigration Detention," a newly updated National Immigration Forum report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spends almost $2 billion per year on immigration detention.
Right now, we could save almost 80 percent of that cost -- $1.44 billion -- if we switched to effective alternatives to detention for detainees who have not been convicted of a serious crime.
Yet the House of Representatives has signaled that it plans to take the opposite approach. Its budget for the 2014 fiscal year would boost immigration detention spending to $5.6 million per day -- $164 a day for each detainee.
The U.S. is at a crossroads when it comes to immigration, and the House of Representatives is at the wheel. Its budget would keep us on the same expensive road -- call it Enforcement Avenue.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-noorani/detention-costs-immigration-reform_b_3792497.html

The Week Ahead: August 19-23

August 19, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"If you came here through no fault of your own and you have been a productive and positive addition to our country, then, yeah, we need to do something so that you don’t have to worry that you’re going to be deported from your home.”

— GOP Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02), August 14

SUMMARY

Evangelical Immigration Table to Launch Largest Radio Ad Buy Yet
The Evangelical Immigration Table will launch its largest radio ad buy to date on Tuesday, as part of the Table’s “Pray for Reform” campaign. The new $400,000 buy will include multi-week ads at high saturation levels in 56 congressional districts across 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

The radio ads, to run while members of Congress are back in their districts for recess, feature local and national evangelical voices calling for prayer and action on broad immigration reform. Evangelical support for reform is deepening: More than 60,000 people have signed up as prayer partners during the “Pray for Reform” campaign. The ads encourage legislators to take action on immigration reform after they return to Washington in September, and the press call will highlight this evangelical support at home.

Bibles, Badges and Business Leaders Continue August Events
Today Republican Congressman John Carter (TX-31) held a meeting and press conference with faith and business leaders in Belton, Texas. The event was just one example of the dozens of events the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network is holding across the country while members of Congress are home. Building on a series of successful events across the country already this month, additional events this week will take place in Columbus, Ind.; Duncan, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Geneva, Ill.; Omaha, Neb.; South Bend, Ind.; Dunn, N.C.; and Durham, N.C.

Updated Study Highlights High Costs of Immigration Detention
Today the National Immigration Forum posted an updated “Math of Immigration Detention” paper, which highlights the high costs of detaining immigrants under our current immigration system and explores more responsible alternatives to detention. The results show that if only individuals convicted of serious crimes were detained and less expensive alternative methods were used to monitor the rest of the population currently in detention, taxpayers could save more than $1.44 billion per year—almost an 80 percent reduction in annual costs.

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

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ: THE HILL (Williams Column): Republican leaders pushing door open for immigration deal
By Juan Williams
August 19, 2013
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, recently told a Wisconsin town-hall meeting that the House has plans to vote on immigration reform in October.
If Ryan is willing to publicly talk in such terms, then he is opening the door to Republicans allowing their leadership to pass the bill with votes from Democrats.
Recent remarks by other GOP leadership figures give reason for increased optimism on immigration reform as well.
On “Fox News Sunday,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) promised a vote on separate bills containing components of immigration reform as it passed the Senate.
Cantor committed neither to a vote on a comprehensive package nor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the United States.
Still, the promises of floor votes from Ryan and Cantor amounts to a breakthrough at a moment when House Republicans fear primary challenges from hardliners who might accuse them of going soft and giving “amnesty” to illegal immigrants.
Most House Republicans are still risk-averse on immigration reform, content to do nothing and let it die without any vote and without any conference with the Senate that could require further compromise.
But the new posture on immigration reform by high profile Republicans could end the paralysis.
Read more: http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/juan-williams/317555-juan-williams-gop-leaders-push-door-ajar-for-immigration-deal

WASHINGTON POST (Rubin Post): Media hypes Rep. Steve King while immigration reform advances
By Jennifer Rubin
August 13, 2013
Politico tells us that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), infamous for his bigoted comments on illegal aliens, is “hitting the trail” with his anti-immigrant screed. (“If you bring people from a violent civilization into a less-violent civilization, you’re going to have more violence right? It’s like pouring hot water into cold water, does it raise the temperature or not?”)
But the thing is that no one — outside the Beltway — takes him all that seriously. The photo accompanying Politico’s report of an anti-immigration in Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Richmond, Va., district shows exactly 14 people. (Politico claims a grand total of 60 attended the rally.) Polling shows King’s own constituents favor immigration reform. Yet Politico, as is its sensationalistic habit, chooses to take King seriously and accord him relevance in the current debate.
Is King a “problem” for the pro-immigration reformers? In an odd way, he’s actually a great asset. He’s an obvious crank. That and the naked display of venom of the anti-immigrant crowd prove embarrassing to anti-immigration lawmakers.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/08/13/media-hypes-rep-steve-king-while-immigration-reform-advances/

The Week Ahead: August 12-16

August 12, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Our immigration system is broken and in need of real solutions to the problems we currently face. Everyone, from small businesses to the high-tech industry to the agriculture industry, believes now is the time to do something meaningful. I am committed to addressing immigration this year and will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to do just that. ”

— Republican Congressman Joe Heck, (NV-03), at the SXSW V2V “America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Case for Fixing our Broken Immigration System“ panel in Las Vegas, Aug. 12

SUMMARY

DACA Turns 1
One year ago this week, on Aug. 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Two months earlier, the Obama administration had announced the new program. In the year since DACA has been in place, more than 400,000 young undocumented immigrants who meet the program’s requirements have been granted a two-year reprieve from the threat of deportation — and the opportunity to work and attend school.

Even as DACA has provided a taste of the difference immigration reform can make, it is limited and only temporary. Support for permanent and broad reform Congress mirrors broad support for the program — and “Dreamers” including those who have received deferred action support broad immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship not just for themselves but for their parents friends and other relatives as well. Congress must move forward with long-term, bipartisan solutions.

Local Recess Events Urge Action — and See Results — from Members of Congress:
The momentum for reform continues to build as the Bibles, Badges and Business network and the Evangelical Immigration Table hold events across the country while members of Congress spend time at home over the August recess. From Nevada to Ohio, Illinois to Georgia, leaders in local faith, law enforcement and business communities are speaking out in support of immigration reform and urging their lawmakers to do the same. This week alone, Las Vegas; Dayton, Ohio; Grand Junction, Colo.; Turlock, Calif.; Champaign, Ill.; Lawrenceville, Ga.; Wausau, Wis; and Rome, Ga. will play host to local Bibles, Badges and Business events urging Congress to act on immigration reform after the August recess concludes.

Already, progress is emerging from key districts as more and more Republican House members came out in favor of a path to earned citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform. Last week alone, Congressman Daniel Webster of Florida and Congressman Dave Reichert of Washington stated their support for a path to citizenship that holds people accountable but provides them with a road out of the shadows. Jordan Fabian of ABC even asked, “Is Republican opposition to a pathway to citizenship melting away in the August heat?”

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

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ: ABC NEWS: Republicans May Be Changing Minds on Immigration Reform
By Serena Marshall
August 8, 2013
Members of Congress have been on recess for only a few days, but it already seems the time away from Washington means more support for a pathway to citizenship among some Republicans.
In the past few days, two Republican members of the House of Representatives — Daniel Webster in Florida, Aaron Schock in Illinois — have expressed preliminary support for a way to legalize undocumented immigrants and allow them to eventually earn full citizenship. Even the House GOP whip, Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), announced support for legal status, although he stopped just short of supporting full citizenship.
The announcements come on the cusp of an intense campaign by pro-immigration advocates targeting key House members at town-hall events; it’s all part of a larger five-week plan for hundreds of rallies, petition drives and other events across the country timed for the Congressional recess.
“Our movement is taking the fight for immigration reform to every corner of the country,” Frank Sharry, executive director at immigration reform advocacy organization America’s Voice, told ABC News in a statement. “Advocates from the left, right and center are intent on surrounding House Republicans with some simple messages: immigration reform is an idea whose time has come, a proposal deserving of your support and an issue that deserves a vote in the House of Representatives where a bipartisan majority in support of it already exists.”
Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/08/republicans-may-be-changing-minds-on-immigration-reform/

THE PANTAGRAPH (Illinois): Local businesses want immigration reform
By Kenneth Lowe
August 07, 2013
BLOOMINGTON — Local jobs from farmhand to engineer are being held back by a lack of national immigration reform, local employers said at a panel hosted Wednesday by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce.
The discussion, at the chamber’s headquarters in Bloomington, brought together local business leaders and representatives of groups such as the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition and Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform to hear panelists speak about the local effect of national immigration laws that many called “broken.”
“We hear about how immigration reform will benefit high-tech Silicon Valley companies, but the reality is reform also will benefit large Midwest manufacturing companies like Caterpillar,” said Mark Peters, corporate counsel for Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc.
Peters joined other panelists in calling for a loosening of caps on the number of green cards issued to “high-skilled” workers in the science and engineering fields, a uniform employee verification system across all states and a clear path to citizenship for guest workers.
Caterpillar is at a disadvantage compared to its competitors abroad because of restrictions on the number of foreign workers it can hire under current laws — even as it faces a shortage of qualified American workers, Peters said. Guest workers seeking U.S. citizenship under the current system may wait as long as a decade to be naturalized as their careers stagnate.
Read more: http://www.pantagraph.com/business/local/local-businesses-want-immigration-reform/article_68c10bf0-ffd2-11e2-9695-001a4bcf887a.html

Policy Update: Congress Leaves Washington, but not the Immigration Debate

August 08, 2013 - Posted by Maurice Belanger

During Congressional Recess, Constituents Press for Reform

Members of Congress will be hearing from constituents who want them to act on immigration reform—not just at town hall meetings that members traditionally hold during August, but also from hundreds of other events planned during the month. The events will show support for reform from a variety of constituencies. House members will be hearing not just from immigrant advocates, but from evangelical leaders, conservative political action groups, leaders in the tech community, the coalition of faith, law enforcement and business leaders included in the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Network, labor unions and many others.

Find an event near you here or here.

The outcome of immigration reform in the coming months will depend on the outcome of the internal struggle within the Republican Party. In general, the fight is between those concerned with the long-term viability of the party as a national party, and those who are more concerned with a challenge from their right in a congressional district that has been gerrymandered to preclude the necessity of appealing broadly to a diverse electorate. As one Republican strategist said in this article about the problem, “We will not be a national governing party for a long, long time if we turn our backs on this chance to pass immigration reform. It's just that simple.”

That internal struggle bubbled to the surface in July when Republican leaders denounced remarks by a leader of the anti-reform contingent in the House. Speaking of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children by their parents (the subject of the House hearing mentioned below), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told the conservative Web site Newsmax, “For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

The involvement of many conservative constituencies in pro-reform events planned for August will strengthen the hand of conservative Republicans who nevertheless are supportive of immigration reform or can be persuaded to support reform.

Public Support for Path to Citizenship Remains Strong

Despite the fact that support among members of Congress for reform with a path to citizenship is still up in the air, support for a path to citizenship is not in question among the public at large. Public opinion has been queried dozens of times since this past spring, and polls continue to show broad support for the path to citizenship. This document from the Forum summarizing nearly three dozen public opinion polls, extracts responses to questions asked of respondents about their feelings towards a path to citizenship for the undocumented. Support ranges from a bare majority to overwhelming majority, often depending on how much detail is in the question. When the question includes a description that resembles what is contained in the Senate bill, support tends to be higher.

House Adjourns for Recess without an Immigration Resolution

Congress has left Washington for the month of August and will not return until September 9. The House left without resolving its approach to immigration reform. Thus far, the House has rejected the Senate approach of reforming the various interconnected pieces of the broken immigration system in one bill. Instead, it has put forward bills focusing on small parts of the problem. In order to become law, these pieces would have to be packaged together, so that the House would have something to go to conference with the Senate’s comprehensive bill.

Thus far, the following bills have passed through the House’s Judiciary Committee.

The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (H.R. 2278) would: grant to states and localities the authority to enforce immigration laws as they see fit; expand grounds of inadmissibility and removability on terrorism- and criminal-related grounds criminalize unlawful presences and mandate criminal penalties for illegal entry or unlawful presence and make immigration enforcement much more harsh in a number of ways. That bill passed the Judiciary Committee in a party-line vote on June 18.

The Agricultural Guestworker Act (H.R. 1773) would replace the current H-2A temporary agricultural worker program with a different guestworker visa (H-2C) that would have fewer protections for agricultural workers. It does not provide for the legalization of the current (largely undocumented) agricultural workforce. That bill passed the Judiciary Committee in a party-line vote on June 19.

The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772) would mandate the use of an electronic worker verification system for all employers. That bill passed the Judiciary Committee in a party-line vote on June 26.

The Supplying Knowledge-based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act (H.R. 2131) would increase the number of employment-based immigrant visas for those with particular skills, while decreasing the number of family-based immigrant visas by eliminating the category reserved for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. The bill would also eliminate the diversity lottery visa program and increase the number of annual visas for the H-1B non-immigrant visa program. That bill passed in a mostly party-line vote on June 27. (One Republican joined with all of the Committee’s Democrats in voting against the bill.)

Shortly before the recess, the Immigration Subcommittee held a hearing on the topic of providing legalization for some young people brought illegally to the U.S. by their parents. Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is reported to be working on legislation tentatively called the Kids Act to deal with this subpopulation of the undocumented. The idea did not receive an enthusiastic reception, including from persons who would potentially benefit from such legislation. (Rosa Velazquez, a member of the United We Dream National Coordinating Committee, testified at the hearing, saying that United We Dream “is committed to winning citizenship for our families and communities,” and “will not accept proposals that leave our parents behind….”)

The common themes among the House Judiciary Committee bills thus far is 1) they each deal in isolation with a small part of the overall immigration problem and 2) unlike the Senate’s bipartisan approach, the Committee’s bills have passed without bipartisan support.

Back in May, the House Homeland Security Committee passed the Border Security Results Act (H.R. 1417). This legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a strategy and implementation plan for achieving "situational awareness" and "operational control" of the borders. (These terms are specified in the bill.) The bill would let the Department develop a rational plan for border enforcement, in contrast to the Senate bill, which would double border patrol and require very specific deployment of monitoring technology and fencing (whether or not these resources can be deployed effectively). In contrast to the Judiciary Committee bills, H.R. 1417 passed the Homeland Security Committee unanimously by voice vote.

None of these bills have been brought to the floor of the House. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), speaking at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin, is reported to have told the audience that, tentatively, these bills and other related bills (including a legalization bill) will be taken up in October.

Spending Levels for Fiscal 2014 yet to be Resolved

When Congress returns from August recess, there will be nine legislative days in September, the last month of the government’s fiscal year. Thus far, no spending bills have gone through both chambers to a final resolution.

The House has passed an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Some of the immigration-related spending in that bill:


  • $10.6 billion is allocated for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $35 million above the amount requested by the president. This includes $3.8 billion for border security and funding for 21,370 Border Patrol agents.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gets $5.3 billion in the House bill, $387.6 million more than requested by the president. This includes $168.5 million above the requested amount for detention, to maintain detention bed spaces at 34,000. $43.6 million are appropriated to restore the 287(g) program. Secure Communities would get an extra $4.9 million more than requested and $24 million is added to the request for alternatives to detention.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would get $114.2 million, all of it for E-Verify. (Most USCIS funding is fee generated, not appropriated by Congress.)


The House bill also includes an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that would prohibit spending to implement categorical discretion regarding immigration enforcement—for example, the DACA program for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

In the Senate, the DHS appropriations bill has passed out of the Homeland Security Committee. Immigration-related spending in that bill:

  • There is $10.4 billion for CBP, $.4 million less than the president’s request. $3.7 billion is included for Border Patrol, funding for 21,370 agents.
  • ICE would get $5.05 billion in the Senate bill, $57 million more than the president’s request. In the Senate bill, the 287(g) program would get $5.4 million. $1.88 billion would be allocated for detention at a level of 31,800 detention beds, $41 million more than the president’s request. Alternatives to detention would get $23.7 million more than the president requested.
  • USCIS would get $113.9 million for E-Verify and $5 million for immigrant integration grants.


The Senate DHS Appropriations bill has yet to make it to the floor. Should there be no agreement on these and other spending bills by the end of the September, the government will run out of funding to operate.

DHS Leadership – Many Boxes to be Filled

The organizational chart for the Department of Homeland Security currently has many empty or soon-to-be empty boxes for the leadership positions of the Department’s functions relating to immigration. Starting at the top, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will be leaving her post in early September to begin her new job as President of the University of California system.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton left his post at the end of July. A replacement has not been nominated.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has had no Commissioner for some time, but on August 1, President Obama nominated R. Gil Kerlikowske to be Commissioner of CBP. Mr. Kerlikowske has served as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (also known as the “drug czar”). Prior to that, Mr. Kerlikowske was the Seattle police chief.

On June 27, President Obama nominated Alejandro Mayorkas to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Mayorkas is currently the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Senate held a confirmation hearing just prior to leaving for the August recess, but the Judiciary Committee has not yet approved his nomination. No replacement has been nominated for USCIS Director.

Immigration Reform

The Week Ahead: August 5-9

August 05, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Congress’s failure to act on immigration would maintain an unproductive status quo and deny countless U.S. companies — and their employees — a much-needed economic boost.”
— Arne Sorenson, chief executive of Marriott, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, August 2

SUMMARY

Bibles, Badges and Business Accelerates Push During Local Recess Events
As members of Congress return to their districts for August recess, leaders in the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Network (BBB) are gathering in key congressional districts across the country to emphasize the benefits of immigration reform and urge their lawmakers to take action after they return to Washington in September.

This week, local BBB events taking place in Glendale, Arizona; Bloomington, Illinois; Greeley, Colorado; and Pueblo, Colorado will feature speakers from the local faith, law enforcement and business communities discussing the need for commonsense, broad immigration reform. These local voices reflect the growing number of Americans speaking out in support of reform.

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

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ: ASSOCIATED PRESS: Companies Help Immigrants Obtain US Citizenship
By Associated Press
August 03, 2013
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — For immigrants working toward the American Dream, some employers are now helping them reach their dream of becoming Americans.
Health clinics, hotels and a clothing factory are pairing up with immigrant advocates to offer on-site citizenship assistance as one of the perks of the job in greater Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and Silicon Valley as they aim to make naturalization more convenient for the 8.5 million legal immigrants eligible to become U.S. citizens.
The effort is billed as a win-win for both employee and employers: Workers avoid legal fees and having to shuttle to and from law offices to complete applications; companies create a deeper bond with immigrant workers and there's little cost as nonprofits pick up the tab.
"You create some sense of loyalty," said Leonie Timothee, human resources manager at InterContinental Miami, a luxury hotel that has helped six employees apply to naturalize since last year. "It is going to be a part of you for the rest of your life, and to know your place of employment helped you, assisted you in becoming a citizen — I think that's a great deal."
In most cases, immigrants can apply to become an American citizen after having a green card for five years and passing English and civics tests. But they often take longer to do so because they can't afford the application fees, fear their English isn't good enough or simply don't know enough about the process, studies have shown.
While high-tech companies frequently sponsor foreign workers for visas or green cards, most companies haven't gotten involved in the naturalization process. Their involvement usually ends at getting work papers unless the employee needs to travel extensively overseas or obtain national security clearance only available to a citizen, said Angelo Paparelli, an immigration attorney who specializes in employment-based issues.
Since last year, 19 companies have signed up to participate in the effort by the Washington-based National Immigration Forum to help more people become citizens. The focus of the so-called Bethlehem Project is on low-wage workers, who often face additional hurdles to naturalization such as long hours and extensive commutes and who may lack the cash to hire an immigration lawyer to help them complete the paperwork.
Read more: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=208577613

NBC NEWS: From politics to the pulpit, faith groups see 'the hand of God' in immigration reform
By Carrie Dann, Political Reporter, NBC News
August 3, 2013
When lawmakers return to their home districts this August, they’re likely to hear strident opinions about immigration reform from local business owners, farmers, political activists, talk radio devotees and regular citizens engaged in the democratic process.
But many Christian leaders are hoping that they also hear the voice of the Almighty as well.
“It is very difficult to argue theologically that Jesus would be opposed to immigration reform,” says Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the leader of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “Beyond the issue of the public policy, the heart of God is for those that are suffering and for the oppressed and the marginalized.”
Rodriguez’s group – encompassing more than 40,000 evangelical congregations nationwide – is just one of many faith-based organizations hoping to influence the immigration debate this fall by invoking scripture and the compassion of God, from the pulpit and at political events.
Pro-reform Christian organizations trace their support for the overhaul from Biblical passages and parables; the most often-quoted is Matthew 25:35, which reads “ For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in.” Leviticus 19 is another common refrain: “The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Read more: http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/03/19819640-from-politics-to-the-pulpit-faith-groups-see-the-hand-of-god-in-immigration-reform

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