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Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead: November 25-29

November 26, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“I’m hopeful we can make progress on this very important issue [of immigration reform] … Congress needs to deal with this issue. Our committees are continuing to do their work. There are a lot of private conversations that are underway to try to figure out: How do we best move on a common-sense, step-by-step basis to address this very important issue?”

— House Speaker John Boehner (OH-08), in comments Nov. 21 at his weekly press conference


Local, D.C. Events Recognize and Give Thanks for the Role of Immigrants in America:
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, evangelical Christians are gathering in California and Colorado for “Come to the Table” events to break bread, pray and discuss the Christian response to immigration. Come to the Table events scheduled throughout November and December are the latest effort in the Evangelical Immigration Table’s ongoing Pray for Reform campaign.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Western Michigan Bibles, Badges and Business leaders are hosting a roundtable event to urge congressional action on immigration. Local voices from the business and faith communities will call for the timely passage of commonsense immigration reform, with presentations by Grand Rapids Mayor George Hartwell and area businessman Bing Goei.

As the holiday season gets under way, constituents from across the country are taking time to reflect on our nation’s history of immigration, be thankful for all that immigrants contribute, and call on their members of Congress to take action on immigration reform in the 113th Congress.

Back in Washington, the Fast for Families, a call for broad immigration reform, continues into its third week. The fast’s tent on the National Mall has seen visits from Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Reps. Jeff Denham and David Valadao in the past couple of weeks, and it includes faith leaders from across the political spectrum. The fast occurs in conjunction with events across the country, urging the House to take up immigration reform this year.

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 (Gutierrez Op-Ed): Immigration reform can be a winning issue for Republicans
By Carlos Gutierrez
November 20, 2013
As the Republican Governors Association meets in Scottsdale this week, state GOP leaders should celebrate and reaffirm their call for broad immigration reform that will help all Americans.
Doing so would be no departure for many Republican governors, who see both the effects of our broken immigration system and a need for Congress to create a better process.
The lesson of recent elections is that immigration reform and honoring our tradition as a nation of immigrants is not just good policy but good politics. Look no further than Gov. Chris Christie’s landslide 60-38 win in November — including majority support among Hispanic voters.
“What Congress needs to do is get to work, working with each other and the president, to fix a broken system that is not serving our economy well, that is not serving our country well,” Christie said this month.
Republican members of the House of Representatives should take encouragement from Gov. Christie’s win and from recent polling that shows broad support among their supportive voters. Immigration reform is a winning issue.
You can also ask the man for whom I served, President George W. Bush. His recognition that we are a nation of immigrants and his support for immigration reform contributed strongly to his election and re-election.
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WASHINGTON TIMES (Staver Op-Ed): Is there a moral approach to immigration reform?
By Mathew Staver
November 24, 2013
I am an evangelical Christian and I am politically conservative. For some time, I have supported immigration reform.
I work with a broad coalition to fix our broken immigration laws, including the Evangelical Immigration Table. I believe that immigration reform represents an opportunity for me to live out my values and an opportunity for a victory of conservative values in public life. The importance of immigration reform is a quickly growing consensus among my peers, but I am on a mission to persuade the remaining skeptics.
Consistent with orthodox Christian teaching that finds its roots in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis, evangelicals believe that men and women are created in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect. We believe the Bible is clear in its call for us to treat all people with respect and to care for our neighbors, including those who are the “strangers” in our midst.
The Bible admonishes the Israelite people to treat the stranger (alien or foreigner) with kindness because they were once strangers in a foreign land. Jesus says that we should treat the stranger as we would treat Jesus Himself.
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CLEVELAND PLAIN-DEALER (LaTourette Op-Ed): New polling suggests Republican opportunity on immigration reform
By Steve LaTourette
November 19, 2013
Congress has a lot on its plate right now -- including a long-term budget deal. However, we cannot let immigration reform get lost in the shuffle. Immigration reform is not a political issue; it is an issue of keeping our country competitive and economically stable. However, recent polling shows that with broad support for reform, elected officials will be rewarded politically if legislation is passed.
A poll released by the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), Republicans for Immigration Reform and Compete America shows strong support for meaningful immigration reform among Ohioans. Over 70 percent of voters in Ohio are supportive of substantive immigration reform legislation – including over 64 percent of independent voters. These swing voters decide elections, and the political risk of opposing something that over two-thirds of them support would be very risky.
In addition to it being politically smart to support reform, elected officials should support it because it will be good for our country. Immigration reform to allow skilled individuals to remain in the United States would provide a powerful boost to our economy. A recent study by PNAE found that for every advanced degree graduate in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering and math) who stays in the United States, 2.6 jobs are created for American workers.
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The Week Ahead: November 18-22

November 18, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“Unfortunately, too many conservatives — though they aspire to walk in Reagan's footsteps — have forgotten that immigration reform is the most Republican of causes. We cannot support open borders for trade but not for people. We cannot support the unfettered exchange of goods and ideas while building razor-wired walls that separate children from their parents. We cannot make America stronger and more prosperous by excluding tomorrow's talent and industry.”

— Frank Keating, a former Republican governor of Oklahoma, President and Chief Executive of the American Bankers Association, in a Nov. 11 Los Angeles Times op-ed


Nationwide, Support For Reform Continues to Deepen:
With immigration reform still the biggest issue before Congress, leaders from across the country are letting their legislators know that they are not letting up. This morning released a series of ads to run this week, aimed at encouraging politicians to follow through on reform. On the heels of Chris Christie’s gubernatorial win due in part to his winning a large share of Hispanic votes, the Republican Governors Association is holding its annual meeting. Meanwhile, constituents are sending Capitol Hill the message that they will not allow this issue to fade away. Not only is the chorus of voices growing on the issue, but the depth of support is building as well.

Last week alone, faith leaders underscored their support following a meeting at the White House, an unprecedented coalition of organizations led a Digital Day of Action that resulted in more than 9,000 tweets using #Ready4Reform reaching an audience of over 130,00,000 Twitter users, and Americans for Reform hosted a press conference featuring Thomas J. Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform; Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum; Jay Timmons of the National Association of Manufacturers; Bishop John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City; and Greg Zoeller, the Attorney General of Indiana.

Several polls released last week further highlight the broad support for reform, finding that voters in key Republican districts want Congress to act on immigration solutions, and that 58 percent of Protestant pastors favor immigration reform that provides a roadmap to earned citizenship for those currently in the country.

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: LOS ANGELES TIMES (Keating Op-Ed): What would Reagan do?
By Frank Keating
November 11, 2013
Like many Republicans — what's more, like many Americans — I regard Ronald Reagan as my political hero and inspiration. For conservatives who came of age in the 1960s and '70s, President Reagan offered a principled and compassionate argument for individual freedom and an equally compelling case for personal responsibility.
In 1989, Reagan described his view of America "as a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here."
Unfortunately, too many conservatives — though they aspire to walk in Reagan's footsteps — have forgotten that immigration reform is the most Republican of causes. We cannot support open borders for trade but not for people. We cannot support the unfettered exchange of goods and ideas while building razor-wired walls that separate children from their parents. We cannot make America stronger and more prosperous by excluding tomorrow's talent and industry.
From my perspective as a Reagan Republican — indeed, as a senior official in the Reagan administration during the last major immigration reform process — I am convinced that we stand on the precipice of opportunity.
Read more:,0,6647862.story#axzz2kx6R4S00

DAILY BEAST: Jesus Vs. Tea Party on Immigration
By Patricia Murphy
November 13, 2013
Last week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, made an urgent request to House Speaker John Boehner on behalf of the Catholic Conference of Bishops. He asked Boehner, a Catholic, to pass stalled immigration reform legislation, calling the current immigration system “a stain on the nation’s soul.”
But on Tuesday, Boehner told reporters immigration reform isn't going anywhere fast. "We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill," Boehner said, all but guaranteeing that reform will be pushed into 2014 and the chaotic politics of the mid-term elections.
Dolan and the bishops are just one piece of an unprecedented coalition of religious leaders—from Southern Baptists to conservative Catholics to religious progressives—who have combined their efforts this year to convince Congress to pass immigration reform.
Together and on their own, they have prayed for members of the House and Senate, held press conferences, staged fasts, and button-holed representatives, both in Washington and at home in their districts, all in an effort to press what they see as the Bible's critical teachings—the country's moral obligation to accept immigrants while also respecting the rule of law.
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RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER (Christensen Column): Republicans might try new approach on immigration
By Rob Christensen
November 16, 2013
Farmers such as John Barnes need Latino laborers to harvest the sweet potato crop in Nash County. High-tech entrepreneurs such as SAS’ Jim Goodnight of Cary rely on a supply of American-educated software engineers and statisticians from South Asia.
This is called supply and demand. If there were native-born Americans lined up for those jobs, they could be hired.
Similar stories could be told in the construction and hospitality industries.
All the liberal activists in the world praying and fasting on the National Mall – as they did last week – are unlikely to have much of an effect on the Republican-controlled U.S. House when it comes to changes in the immigration laws.
But businessmen, lawmen and evangelical preachers might.
“Seventy-percent of the labor force in agriculture is undocumented,” Bert Lemkes, co-owner of Van Wingerden International, a greenhouse manufacturer in Western North Carolina, said at a forum in Raleigh recently.
“Something has to be done,” Lemkes said. “The other 30 percent will lose their jobs if the other 70 percent does not show up. There is a large group in the population that does not understand that the undocumented here work hard, pay taxes, pay (into) Social Security.”
The forum was sponsored by the N.C. Farm Bureau and a group called Bibles, Badges and Business, a coalition that brings together business, law enforcement and evangelical leaders to push Republicans for changes in the immigration laws.
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The Week Ahead November 11-15

November 11, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

““In [the Church’s] view, immigration reform would protect that right and restore the rule of law while upholding the human rights and dignity of the person. As a moral matter, however, our nation cannot continue to receive the benefits of the work and contributions of undocumented immigrants without extending to them the protection of the law … Keeping these human beings as a permanent underclass of workers who are unable to assert their rights or enjoy the fruits of their labor is a stain on the soul of the nation.”

— Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a Nov. 7 letter to Speaker John Boehner


Broad Coalition Will Take to the Web in Digital Day of Action Push:
An unprecedented coalition of organizations is joining forces Wednesday for a Digital Day of Action for immigration reform. From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to United We Dream to the National Association of Evangelicals and beyond, organizations from across the political, geographic and occupational spectrum are partaking in the digital push to show that America is #Ready4Reform.

Since these groups started using #Ready4Reform just two weeks ago, users with more than 67 million followers have posted more than 60,000 tweets with the hashtag. The Digital Day of Action will include a social media push using ads on social networking sites targeted at key congressional districts, a unified #Ready4Reform profile picture and more.

Nationwide, Faith Leaders Continue Call for Immigration Reform:
As the push for reform continues to gain momentum across the country, faith leaders continue to urge their members of Congress to see immigration as a moral issue. Last week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner (OH-08), urging the House to act on immigration before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), began a 40-day fast last week as he and others pray for immigration reform. Although he has committed to 40 days, he announced that he is willing to extend the fast until immigration reform passes.

And on Tuesday, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, will appear alongside Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, as part of a bilingual gathering of worship, testimony and prayer hosted by the church, Willow Creek Casa de Luz and World Relief DuPage/Aurora. Tuesday’s event joins hundreds that have taken place across the country in the past month as part of the Evangelical Immigration Table‘s ongoing Pray for Reform campaign.

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: ASSOCIATED PRESS: Top Catholic Bishop Presses House on Immigration
By Donna Cassata
November 8, 2013
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is pressuring the House to act on immigration legislation before the end of the year, calling the issue “a matter of great moral urgency” that cannot wait.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said in a letter to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Thursday that he was troubled by reports that immigration reform is delayed in the House since lawmakers have a responsibility to resolve the issue. Writing on behalf of the 450-plus U.S. cardinals and bishops, Dolan said they respectfully request that the House address the immigration issue as soon as possible.
The Senate passed a bill in June that would provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally and tighten border security, but the measure has stalled in the House where Boehner and GOP leaders have argued for a piecemeal approach.
“As a moral matter ... our nation cannot continue to receive the benefits of the work and contributions of undocumented immigrants without extending to them the protection of the law,” Dolan wrote. “Keeping these human beings as a permanent underclass of workers who are unable to assert their rights or enjoy the fruits of their labor is a stain on the soul of the nation.”
Dolan reiterated the bishops’ stand that immigration legislation includes a path to citizenship, reaffirms family reunification, deals with future flows of migrant workers and restores basic due process protections to immigrants.
He wrote Boehner, a Catholic, that immigration is “a challenge that has confounded our nation for years, with little action from our federally elected officials. It is a matter of great moral urgency that cannot wait any longer for action.”
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SHEBOYGAN PRESS (Wisconsin) (DeVrou Op-Ed): Urgently praying for immigration reform
By Rev. Wayne DeVrou
November 9, 2013
As Congress debates a variety of important issues, I and other evangelical Christians are praying that they do not miss the opportunity to address one of the most urgent ones facing our country today: immigration.
While immigration is an important political, social and economic issue, we sometimes forget that it is also a moral one. The Scriptures have a great deal to say about how those of us who follow Jesus would think about immigrants in our community and the policies that affect them.
God specifically calls his people to care for those who are vulnerable and repeatedly highlights three particular groups: orphans, widows and immigrants. He also commands the Israelites to allow their own immigrant history to inform how they treat those who migrated into their land later, a principle that should resonate with us as Americans.
While the biblical commands to love and welcome immigrants are many, that does not mean we should condone the violation of law or that we cannot insist upon secure national borders. God established government to maintain order, and Christians are commanded to “be subject to the governing authorities.” We have a responsibility to insist that the rule of law is respected and honored.
The only way to bring together these various biblical principles — hospitality, human dignity and family unity on one hand, respecting the rule of law and insisting upon secure borders on the other — is to reform and enforce our laws.
We must make it more difficult to enter the country illegally and work without authorization. We must also facilitate lawful migration by fixing our visa system so that the number of visas available matches the needs of our economy, keeps families together and ensures that the United States is a refuge for those fleeing persecution.
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Rev. Wayne DeVrou is the Senior Pastor of the First Reformed Church of Oostburg.

WHITE MOUNTAIN INDEPENDENT (Arizona) (Hamer Op-Ed): Gap is narrowing on immigration reform
By Glen Hamer
November 8, 2013
Various Arizona chamber and business leaders have made numerous visits to Washington, D.C., over the years to push for reform of our nation’s badly broken immigration system. As a border state, we understand this issue well. For years, the business community in Arizona has been pressing Congress and the administration for a secure border, workable visa and guest worker programs, nationwide employee verification programs such as E-Verify, and a way for those who did not enter the country legally but are now contributing to our state to get right with the law, especially those brought to this country as children. The failure of the federal government to act resulted in Arizona and many other states trying to do immigration reform on their own, resulting in a patchwork of policies nationwide.
But it is obvious today that all roads to reform lead through Washington, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. U.S., which held that state attempts to regulate immigration were pre-empted by federal immigration law.
On Oct. 29, when a group of about 20 Arizona business, faith and law enforcement leaders visited with all nine of our U.S. House members, we were not alone. Over 600 leaders from over 40 states took to Capitol Hill to urge House members, with a focus on the Republican majority, to support bringing legislation to the floor this year.
I had the privilege to address the gathering Oct. 28 at the opening reception to discuss why reform is so important and beneficial to our economy and security. Our country’s greatest comparative advantage is that the best, brightest and hardest workers from across the globe desire to work in our country.
Before we hit the Hill on Oct. 29, we gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to prepare. The U.S. Chamber and their Senior Vice President Randel Johnson have been the lead business organization on this entire reform effort. At the kickoff meeting, we heard from conservative icon Grover Norquist, who made the free-market case for reform. Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Rebecca Tallent of the Bipartisan Policy Center remarked that all credible studies of reform point to significant economic and budgetary benefits. Fresno County (Calif.) Sheriff Margaret Mims made a compelling case for the increased security reform could bring. Faith leaders offered a humanitarian case for reform, and our delegation was joined by a number of pastors working in coordination with a coalition called Bibles, Badges and Business.
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Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Week Ahead November 4-8

November 04, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“I do see [evangelical immigration reform efforts] making a difference. I absolutely do … It’s not about self-interest. We have a lot of different groups that lobby us on business interests and how it affects their pocketbooks. (With pastors) this is about their faith and their beliefs … We’re going to get (immigration reform) done this year, and it’s because of the faith-based community … It’s a huge, significant push. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Republican Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10), Nov. 1


National Fly-In Push Moves the Dial Toward Reform:
More than 600 leaders met with more than 180 members of Congress and their staffs in Washington, D.C., last week during “Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith and Security.” The fly-in, co-hosted by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has generated buzz across the country and throughout the halls of Congress. The event has generated 759 media hits and counting, and members of Congress are taking note of the chorus of conservative voices who favor immigration reform.

In the past week, three Republican members have signed on to H.R. 15, a broad immigration bill in the House, as co-sponsors: Congressman David Valadao (CA-24); Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (FL-27); and Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-10). Meanwhile, in-district #Ready4Reform efforts continue nationwide with Bibles, Badges and Business and the Evangelical Immigration Table hosting events this week in Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio and Texas.

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:ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: O.C. pastors lobby GOP friends on touchy issue
By Jim Hinch
November 1, 2013
For the pastors in the Capitol, the meeting with the congressman was an answer to their prayers.
Last week, nine evangelical Christians from Orange County—six of them pastors—gathered in a circle to pray in the hall outside the Washington, D.C. office of Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton.
The Christians were there to encourage Royce and other Orange County congressmen to support comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that this year has become a cause célèbre for some evangelicals and other faith-based groups.
Earlier that day, the group had tried to secure an appointment with Royce but had been told they’d have to settle for a meeting with staff members because the congressman was busy.
“I prayed, ‘Lord, we want to be able to shake hands with (Royce), so make that possible,” recalled Tommy Nixon, a pastor who leads a Christian community development organization in Fullerton called Solidarity Rising.
“We walk in (to the lobby in Royce’s office), and just literally (Royce) steps out and goes, ‘Hey, how’s it going,’ and shakes everyone’s hand and brought us into his office,’” Nixon said.
“Obviously, in my belief, that’s like God being good. It was very good.”
The meeting produced no immediate results. Royce remains opposed to the specific reform legislation the pastors were advocating, according to a spokeswoman.
But the pastors saw glimmers of hope anyway, both in Royce’s warm welcome and in his staff members’ subsequent reassurance that Royce understands the importance of the issue and wants Congress to act.
One conclusion was shared by all in the meeting: When evangelical Christians talk, Republican lawmakers listen. And that unique bond, reform advocates say, just might mean success for their efforts this year to resolve one of America’s most divisive political issues.
Last year, evangelical Christians made headlines when prominent church leaders announced they were backing comprehensive immigration reform, including providing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
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WASHINGTON POST (Sargent Post): Immigration reform is definitely undead
By Greg Sargent
October 30, 2013
We now have three House Republicans who have signed on to the House Dem comprehensive immigration reform bill, putting immigration reform officially back in the “undead” category.
GOP Rep. David Valadao of California is officially on board with the bipartisan proposal, according to a statement from the Congressman sent my way:
“I have been working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common ground on the issue of immigration reform. Recently, I have focused my efforts on joining with likeminded Republicans in organizing and demonstrating to Republican Leadership broad support within the Party to address immigration reform in the House by the end of the year.
“By supporting H.R. 15 I am strengthening my message: Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait. I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system.”
Valadao’s move is not wholly unexpected, given that he inhabits a moderate district with a lot of Latinos. But his insistence that addressing immigration reform “cannot wait” is helpful. It seems like an implicit message to the GOP leadership: We must act this year, and on this bill, if necessary.
This comes after GOP Reps. leana Ros-Lehtinen and Jeff Denham Jeff Denham did the same. Denham has said he expects “more” Republicans to ultimately sign on, and has also said that the House GOP leadership told him there will be a vote on something immigration-related by the end of the year.
It’s unclear whether there will actually be a House vote on anything involving immigration before the year runs out, and it seems very unlikely that there will be a vote on the House Dem measure, which is essentially the Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill, without the Corker-Hoeven border security amendment that House Dems dislike, and instead with another border security amendment House Dems like swapped in.
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