National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Updates Archives

A Mass on the Border for the Thousands Who’ve Died Crossing

March 31, 2014 - Posted by Mario Moreno

Seven United States bishops traveled to the border this morning as they prepared for their Mass on the Border tomorrow.


The bishops started their day with an intimate Mass at San Xavier Mission, where they prayed and remembered the thousands of migrants who have perished traversing the border in search for a better life.




After the Mass, they continued their journey to the Nogales border, walking along the routes that migrants cross and reflecting on the immigrant experience and the need to provide solutions.






At the end of the day, the bishops joined in a dinner with local Catholic school children who shared their stories and why they want to see a safer border and immigration reform.




The bishops and Cardinal Sean O’Malley will hold a Mass on the Border. Join in the prayer and watch the Mass starting tomorrow at noon.



Borders Smart Enforcement Priorities

Policy Update: With Reform Stuck in the House, Pressure Increases on the President

March 28, 2014 - Posted by Josh Breisblatt

With the clock ticking on immigration reform in this Congress, House Republicans show no sign of bringing immigration reform legislation to a vote. Advocates, while still pushing House leaders to act, have begun to turn their attention to the president.

Since his State of the Union Address, the president has repeatedly promised to use his executive authority to do what he can on any number of issues that remain stalled because of congressional inaction. Immigration advocates—and some members of Congress—are urging him to use his executive authority to mitigate the suffering endured by families due to the broken immigration system.

President Obama has, up to now, maintained that he has limited authority to stop deportations. However, on March 14, the president met with reform advocates and told them he has ordered a review, in search of a more “humane” deportation policy. Possible changes being considered, according to press reports, include the easing or stopping the deportations of persons who have no criminal convictions other than immigration violations and a limitation on immigration detainers. Experts—including former ICE Acting Director John Sandweg—have proposed other shifts in policy that would help ease the burden on families.

Commentators say that such action by the president would spell the end of immigration reform, as Republicans in the House would take the action as proof that the president is not willing to enforce immigration laws. However, it is looking more like a chicken-and-egg situation. As one House Democratic aide put it to the National Journal:

    "At some point, this summer or later this spring, the prospects of Republicans actually doing something won't pass the laugh test. And the president is in a much freer position to do something that needs to be done."

That “something,” as James Oliphant of the National Journal put it, would be “a policy bomb that could be wired to detonate as early as this summer—right in the heat of the 2014 elections.”

House Votes to Limit Executive Discretion

On March 12, the House Republican leaders brought to the floor H.R. 4138, the “Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law Act of 2014 (ENFORCE the Law Act). If enacted, the law would limit President Obama’s ability to use prosecutorial discretion in enforcing the law by giving Congress the authority to sue the president if the House or Senate felt the law was not being properly enforced. The vote was 233 to 181 in favor of passage.

According to a statement by the House Judiciary Committee, the law is intended to prevent “the backdoor enactment of the Dream Act,” known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), among other actions. The Judiciary Committee report accompanying the legislation also cited prosecutorial discretion shown to parents and guardians of U.S. citizen children, and to parents, children and spouses of persons serving in the U.S. military.

A related bill, H.R. 3973, would require the Justice Department to notify Congress if the department establishes or implements a formal or informal policy of discretionary enforcement. That bill passed by a vote of 244 to 171.

While the bills have no chance of enactment, having been pronounced “dead on arrival” in the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), they did reinforce the view that House Republicans are obstructing immigration reform. In a statement reacting to the vote, Maria Fernanda Cabello, of United We Dream (an advocacy group for undocumented youth), said that,
    “Speaker Boehner and his caucus engage in a “death by delay” strategy, coming up with an endless list of political excuses to avoid action. Now they’re moving in the opposite direction by once again seeking to undo the deferred action program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants like myself from deportation….”

Discharge Petition Filed for Immigration Reform Bill

On March 26, House Democrats filed a discharge petition for H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The bill, similar to the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate last year, is sponsored by nearly all House Democrats and a handful of Republicans. A discharge petition is a procedural maneuver that would bypass the committee process and House Republican leadership to force a vote on the House floor. A majority of members of the House (currently 217 due to vacancies) are required to discharge the legislation.

Such petitions are rarely successful, and in this case success would require more than a dozen House Republicans to set aside party loyalty and sign the petition. However, a discharge petition on immigration reform legislation will be a tool in keeping the pressure on House Republican leaders to act by highlighting their lack of action on immigration reform thus far. In a statement released on March 26, President Obama expressed support for House Democratic efforts on the discharge petition.

On March 25, the Congressional Budget Office provided its estimate of the effects of H.R. 15 on the federal budget and on the U.S. economy. The CBO analysis estimates that the bill would result in “a net reduction in federal budget deficits of about $200 billion over the 2015-2024 period and significantly greater amounts in the decade following 2024.” The CBO also noted in its analysis that, like the Senate bill, the House bill would have positive long-range effects on the U.S. economy.

New Acting Head of ICE Named

On March 17, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson named Thomas Winkowski to be Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In that capacity, he will serve as ICE’s acting leader. President Obama has yet to nominate a permanent replacement for the previous Director of ICE, John Morton, who departed last summer. Mr. Winkowski comes to ICE from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), where he was acting head of that agency until the confirmation of Gil Kerlikowske earlier this month.

Bills to Authorize ICE, CBP, introduced in the House

On March 21, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, introduced H.R. 4279, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act. The bill lays out the duties of the agency and its top officers and offices.

Back in January, Rep. Miller introduced H.R. 3846, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act. This bill similarly lays out the duties of the agency and its top officers and offices.

Legislation that originally created the Department of Homeland Security, while incorporating the immigration functions of the government into the department, did not specifically authorize ICE and CBP, which emerged as separate entities after Homeland Security was established. Congress has funded the agencies through the appropriations process, but has yet to formalize the two entities. A hearing on the bills, as well as a third bill authorizing the U.S. Coast Guard that has not yet been released, is expected to be scheduled in early April, and will provide lawmakers opportunities to weigh in on the policies of these agencies.

Highlights of President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 Available

On March 4, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2015 proposed budget. The budget lays out the president’s spending priorities, and these will be modified when Congress puts its own stamp on the budget through the appropriations process in the coming months. The National Immigration Forum has prepared summaries of the immigration-related items in the budget. The summaries break down spending for various immigration-related programs and compare the proposed budget to what was actually enacted for the current fiscal year. There are two documents available on our website: one for the Department of Homeland Security and one for the Department of Justice.

Border Chief Issues Directive on Use of Deadly Force

At the end of February, the Los Angeles Times reported on an audit of the Border Patrol’s use of force. Out of the 67 cases examined by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), there were 19 deaths. The audit was critical of the agency for its “lack of diligence” in investigating complaints, and recommended changes in the agency’s use of deadly force policy. Among other things, the report cited examples of agents stepping in front of fleeing cars in order to justify shooting at passengers.

Despite calls from the organizations around the county the full report, which was completed in early 2013, has yet to be released to the public.

On March 7, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher issued a directive to his agents on the “Use of Safe Tactics and Techniques.” In the directive, Chief Fisher orders agents not to fire at fleeing vehicles unless there is a reasonable belief that the driver is trying to kill the agent or another person. He also says that agents should avoid putting themselves in positions where they have no alternative to using deadly force, and that agents should not fire at rock throwers unless the agent believed, “based on the totality of the circumstances,” that his life is in danger.

Advocates have complained for years about Border Patrol abuses and lack of accountability. On March 26, a new website was launched as part of an effort to increase Border Patrol accountability. Holdcbpaccountable.org is a collaborative effort of the American Immigration Council, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. The website tracks abuses and contains resources, including agency documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.


Borders Immigration Reform Interior Enforcement Smart Enforcement Priorities

The Week Ahead March 24-28

March 25, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Evangelicals are coming to a boiling point on this issue. We’ve prayed about this, held meetings with the White House; we’ve done all we can. Let me be clear: We face the issue of immigration every day, as pastors, as caretakers, as Latinos. This is on the top of our political agenda. It would be disingenuous of me to say it doesn’t carry heavy electoral gravitas.”

— Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, March 21

SUMMARY

Leaders Look to Congress for a Vote on Immigration Reform
As constituents and leaders across the country continue to express their support for commonsense immigration reform, they are looking to their members of Congress for action.

From Illinois to Florida and North Carolina to Ohio, leaders from across the political and vocational spectrum are stepping up to let Congress know that our country needs a vote on reform this year. This week alone, veterans in Colorado and evangelical leaders in Missouri, Florida, Colorado, Michigan and the Carolinas are meeting to discuss the imperatives for reform.

In addition, Catholic leaders continue to stress the urgency for reform following their recent Hill meetings together with evangelical leaders. The push will continue as President Obama meets with Pope Francis this week and with a Mass on the Arizona-Mexico border next week.

As human and economic costs continue to rise in the absence of a functioning immigration system, local leaders are keeping the U.S. House of Representatives on the hook — because only votes from Congress can provide a real and permanent answer.

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: WALL STREET JOURNAL: Republican Strategists Split: Focus on 2014 or 2016?
By Laura Meckler and Beth Reinhard
March 19, 2014
Republicans are divided over how to achieve two conflicting goals: Maximizing wins in 2014 congressional races and better positioning the party for the 2016 presidential contest, when the electorate will look much different.
Some Republicans argue that with President Barack Obama’s poll numbers sinking and his health-care law unpopular, the party is on course for big House and Senate gains this fall. The worst thing the party could do, they say, is to take up contentious matters such as an immigration overhaul or some social issues, which would divide the party and could prompt GOP voters to stay home.
But others say the party has become too risk-averse. It needs to take steps now, they say, to reverse the party’s losing record in the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections and start appealing to the more diverse electorate that will turn out for the 2016 election.
It is the converse of a possible problem for the Democratic Party, where some leaders worry donors and activists aren’t working hard enough to prevent losses in midterm contests.
Bill McInturff, a longtime GOP pollster who has advised congressional and presidential campaigns, said his party’s problem is that most GOP congressional districts have been drawn to be overwhelmingly white, insulating congressional Republicans from the larger demographic shifts afoot in the nation.
“They don’t know what’s coming” demographically, he said. “It may well take another presidential loss before they figure out.”
Read more: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304026304579449701575636212?mg=reno64-wsj

WASHINGTON TIMES: Reince Priebus urges GOP to tone down anti-immigrant rhetoric
By Seth McLaughlin
March 18, 2014
Republican Party chief Reince Priebus said Tuesday that the GOP can make big gains among Hispanic voters even if it doesn’t support legalizing illegal immigrants, as long as the party finds better messengers and tones down anti-immigrant rhetoric.
A year after the Republican National Committee released a report saying it needed to do more to win Hispanic voters, GOP lawmakers in Congress are divided over what to do about illegal immigration. But Mr. Priebus said they don’t need to solve that issue in order to make gains with Latinos.
“I think we do need to tackle this issue and I think there is general agreement in the party that that needs to happen, but I would say there is no agreement to what exactly that package looks like,” Mr. Priebus said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
“But there is also a leap of logic that some people make in that they assume it is the policy that simply drives the improvement — or will drive the improvement for the Republican Party.”
After the GOP stumbled in 2012, many national party leaders and elected officials said they needed to finally embrace broad immigration reform that included legalizing illegal immigrants.
But with action stalled in the Republican-led House, Mr. Priebus argued Tuesday that they don’t actually need to pass a bill to reap some benefits.
Democrats, though, said Mr. Priebus fails to grasp the importance of immigration as a threshold issue for Hispanics.
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/18/rnc-chair-reince-priebus-predicts-gop-tsunami-2014/print/

The Week Ahead March 17-21

March 17, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“This party is going to become a fossil if we don’t embrace immigration reform and show the diverse people of our country that the Republican Party is open to them, and we have proactive, constructive solutions, rather than rolling up the carpet behind us.”

— Francis Rooney, GOP donor, March 13

SUMMARY

Deepening Field to Keep Attention on Congress This Spring
As the conversation around deportations intensifies in Washington, the fact remains that for real, long-term solutions, Congress must address immigration reform this year.

And a deepening network of faith, law enforcement and business leaders across is pushing for commonsense reform. Since January 2013, Bibles, Badges and Business leaders have organized nearly 400 events, generated thousands of news stories, held almost 500 meetings with members and their offices, and engaged more than 5,000 new conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders.

Thanks to local efforts during this first quarter of 2014, these growing networks are preparing to keep the pressure on their representatives during the key months ahead. Local leaders recognize that broad reform will offer long-term stabilizing solutions for our communities, our families and our economy — a good policy opportunity for the country and a good political opportunity for leading conservatives.

Bethlehem Project Launches in Silicon Valley; Sessions Planned in D.C.
At a press conference in San Jose today, business leaders announced that permanent resident employees at Technology Credit Union, ABM, Nokia and DTZ will start receiving free citizenship assistance from their employers this month. The effort formally launches the Bethlehem Project in San Jose.

Through the Bethlehem Project, which now comprises more than 50 businesses in five cities, employers assist eligible immigrant employees with the citizenship process so they become full participants in the workplace, community and local economy. The program also comes at no cost to businesses, which partner with local service providers and the National Immigration Forum.

In addition, Bethlehem Project sessions will take place later this week at the Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt hotels in Washington, D.C. — including the official launch of the program at the Grand Hyatt. Other cities where the program has launched include Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego.

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: SACRAMENTO BEE (Nassif and Smith Op-Ed): Immigration reform a necessary strategy for U.S. economy
By Tom Nassif and Brad Smith
March 16, 2014
The United States was founded as a land of opportunity. From the earliest days, our nation has been enriched by people who arrived from across the globe, worked hard and drove progress as they helped establish our nation as the world’s economic leader.
This is no less true today. From across the globe, we continue to receive hundreds of thousands of visa applications every year as people strive to come here to live, work and take part in the American dream. And we are fortunate, for the strength of the U.S. economy rests on our ability to continue to attract the best talent from across the world.
Perhaps no other industries are in more need of talented workers from abroad than the ones we represent: agriculture and technology. And that’s why we’ve joined forces to try to make immigration reform a reality.
Farmworkers may not need diplomas or advanced degrees to get our harvests in on time, but their contributions to the workforce are essential. Farms that grow and distribute labor-intensive crops like fresh vegetables, fruits and dairy products cannot exist without them. Machines have yet to be invented to do the physical work of picking strawberries, tree fruit, or other delicate fruits or vegetables. Strolling the aisles of supermarket produce sections and sitting down to nutritious meals are merely end products of the agricultural workers whose work made those meals possible.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/16/6238473/viewpoints-immigration-reform.html#storylink=cpy
Tom Nassif is president and CEO Western Growers. Brad Smith is Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Free help for Silicon Valley green card holders
By Joe Garofoli
March 17, 2014
Immigration reform may be stalled in Washington, but on Monday a handful of Silicon Valley companies announce they will be part of a program to help their green-card-holding employees with their citizenship issues.
Dubbed “The Bethlehem Project,” the year-old program aims to help folks with all of the nitty-gritty stuff it takes to become a citizen. What’s new is that the project will provide the funding to have those services located on-site at the green card holder’s company. The project will connect a local service provider, say for legal assistance, with a company that agrees to be part of the program. The project will fund the cost of those services.
“It’s expensive and takes time to get a lawyer, and to find out about citizenship classes,” said Mario Moreno, a spokesman for the National Immigration Forum, which is coordinating the effort.
The pilot project is already up and running in four cities — Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami and Washington, D.C. — and has helped about 1,500 people get their citizenship. However, only a handful of companies with offices in the Valley, including Nokia and DTZ, have signed up so far.
Part of the early reluctance may be that some larger Valley employers aren’t used to working with nonprofits, said the National Immigration Forum’s Jennie Murray.
“They may be used to nonprofits coming to them and asking for something,” said Murray, the National Immigration Forum’s director of integration programs in Washington, D.C. She points out this program provides the services free of charge to green-card holders and has no cost to the companies.
Read more: http://blog.sfgate.com/techchron/2014/03/17/free-help-for-silicon-valley-green-card-holders/

The Week Ahead March 10-14

March 11, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Conservatives need to address immigration, and they need to do it now. Our conservative base wants us to lead and legislate.”

— Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, speaking March 6 at the Conservative Political Action Conference

SUMMARY

Bibles, Badges and Business Launches Ads
This afternoon, Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform released two ads set to run over the next month on YouTube and Facebook.

One ad features Pastor David Fleming, Senior Pastor at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, and the second features Sheriff Mark Curran of Lake County, Ill. Each calls on Congress to follow through on immigration reform this year.

“Our government is responsible for our current immigration crisis, and our government must now work to rebuild our broken immigration system,” Fleming said. “ … We urge our political leaders to be problem-solvers, not just politicians.”

“We now have an opportunity to create a process that finally addresses the fear and uncertainty immigrant communities face while allowing local, state and federal law enforcement officials to support a system that reinforces the rule of law,” Curran added.

As the Left and Right Agitate, Congress Can Make the Next Move
On both sides of the political spectrum, the importance of moving immigration reform forward has been on display and will continue to be in coming weeks.

Last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), attendees heard competing visions regarding immigration reform. Although a handful of speakers contributed fiery rhetoric against reform, others emphasized its urgency. Among several supportive voices was Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who highlighted the importance of immigration reform to his party’s political future.

Meanwhile, the flow of deportations is approaching an unwelcome milestone: 2 million under the current administration. Many immigrant advocates are asking the Obama administration to provide broader administrative relief from deportations, and they plan to step up their efforts in coming weeks.

Only Congress has the power to enact a solution with staying power: a new immigration process that provides both family and economic stability. Without it, our broken immigration system will further destabilize our businesses and communities.

More and more leading conservatives recognize that the question they face is not whether reform will happen, but when — and to what extent their representatives in Congress will seize the opportunity to lead. The clock is ticking.


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: For G.O.P., Hard Line on Immigration Comes at a Cost
By John Harwood
March 7, 2014
WASHINGTON — After signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson famously told an aide: “We just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time.” He was right. But he had also done something else: delivered African-American votes to Democrats in overwhelming proportions.
The party of Lincoln has not won as many as one in five blacks in a presidential election since, while the African-American share of the electorate has swelled. That backdrop looms over deliberations by House Republican leaders over whether to kill legislation that passed in the Senate to overhaul the immigration system. The fact that top House and White House aides say it is not dead yet owes largely to fears of hardening anti-Republican sentiment among a Latino electorate that has quintupled over the last two decades.
“If we don’t pass immigration reform this year, we will not win the White House back in 2016, 2020 or 2024,” John Feehery, once a top aide to former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, wrote recently. Even if that prediction proves hyperbolic, recent history gives Republicans ample reason to take the danger seriously. Democrats have long wooed racial and ethnic minorities more vigorously than the Republicans have. Their presidential candidates have won a majority of black and Hispanic votes in every election since exit polls began.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/us/politics/for-republicans-a-hard-line-on-immigration-comes-at-a-cost.html?_r=2

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Can GOP neutralize immigration as election issue?
By Nicholas Riccardi
March 9, 2014
AURORA, Colo. (AP) — If the apparent slow death of immigration legislation has any political repercussions this year, they probably will be felt in the subdivisions, shopping centers and ethnic eateries wrapped around Denver's southern end.
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman represents this fast-changing district.
He's among a few vulnerable Republican members in line to be targeted by immigrant rights advocates if the House doesn't pass an immigration bill before the November election that would offer legal status to millions of people who entered the U.S. illegally or overstayed their visas.
The issue is no easy solution for Democrats needing to gain 17 seats to win back the House majority. Democratic campaign officials are focusing on about two dozen GOP-held seats where immigration could be a factor, but they rank only nine in the top tier of possible pickups.
Immigration advocates acknowledge their impact on House races this year is limited. Most Republicans hold safe seats in districts with relatively low numbers of immigrants. Coffman is one of the most vulnerable incumbents, but the three-term lawmaker's shift on the issue illustrates the difficulties Democrats may have.
Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/politics/article/Can-GOP-neutralize-immigration-as-election-issue-5301384.php

Washington Continues to Spend Billions on Immigrant Detention

March 05, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

By Larry Benenson

On Tuesday, President Obama released his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Regarding immigration, it’s a mixed bag.

While the budget underscores how we’ll benefit from commonsense immigration reform by accounting for savings the Congressional Budget Office has forecast, it continues our dysfunctional and illogical immigration detention system. As in past years, the budget includes billions of dollars for the detention operations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — part of the Department of Homeland Security — including funding for 30,539 detention beds.

Believe it or not, that’s a slight improvement: The current budget includes nearly $2 billion for immigrant detention — or $5.46 million per day. That money pays for ICE to maintain 34,000 detention beds at a cost of just under $161 per bed per night.

The White House proposed budget for the upcoming year would fund these same operations at $1.808 billion in the next fiscal year, which amounts to just under $5 million per day spent on immigration detention, around a 10 percent decrease. The president’s request for 30,539 detention beds for the incarceration of immigrants is less than the 34,000 mandated by Congress this year but still would require that we spend about $5 million each day on detaining a largely nondangerous immigrant population.

As noted in the August 2013 update of our paper “The Math of Immigration Detention,” the costs of our current dysfunctional, illogical detention system are exorbitant. Simply by using alternatives to detention that cost between 17 cents and 17 bucks per individual per day, we could save billions of dollars. The budget includes a small increase in funding for such alternatives, but we can and should do more.

With our nation’s fiscal health and hundreds of thousands of lives in the balance, replacing our broken immigrant detention system remains a necessary and urgent component of commonsense immigration reform.

The Week Ahead: March 3-7

March 04, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“There is more at stake in this debate than the next election. The outcome will set the tone for the rest of the century. Either we can choose to turn away from our heritage and our track record of integrating immigrants, or we can embrace it and use it to our advantage.”

— Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami in a Feb. 26 press call announcing a joint letter to Congress from national evangelical and Catholic leaders

SUMMARY

President to Release His Budget
As President Obama prepares to release his budget this week, the economic imperatives for immigration reform are clear.

Last year, the Congressional Budget Office found that broad immigration reform would save the country nearly $1 trillion over 20 years. Although the finding applies to the bill the Senate passed, the bottom line is that reform will be good for our bottom line.

Business leaders and fiscal conservatives across the country continue to support action from the House of Representatives because a new immigration process — one that addresses all aspects of our broken system — will be good for American business, our international competitiveness and our economy as a whole.


Republican House Leadership Faces Choice on Immigration
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) has scheduled a markup of a bill related to immigration on Wednesday — but it will not touch on broad reform.

H.R. 3732, introduced by GOP Congresswoman Diane Black (TN-06), would defund the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Public Advocate position.
The bill could become the fifth related to immigration to pass through the House Judiciary Committee this Congress. However, even as Chairman Goodlatte and other Republican leaders have acknowledged that our immigration system is broken, none of the bills moves toward broad immigration reform that addresses undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

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: WALL STREET JOURNAL: Evangelical, Catholic Leaders Pressure GOP on Immigration
By Laura Meckler
February 26, 2014
WASHINGTON—Religious leaders who favor an overhaul of immigration laws are stepping up their pressure on House Republicans, aiming to move the stalled legislation and show that the GOP could pay a political penalty for inaction.
This weekend, Hispanic evangelical pastors will preach a “call to action,” asking churchgoers to call members of Congress to demand passage of a broad immigration bill.
The program is being organized by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which encouraged its 34,200 member churches, representing 16 million members, to participate. It is unclear how many will do so.
On Wednesday, nearly a dozen Catholic bishops and archbishops representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are sending a letter to House members, urging them to move immigration legislation. The letter is also signed by evangelical leaders.
The Senate passed a sweeping immigration bill last summer but the issue had been stuck in the House ever since.
“The frustration—it is no longer simmering, but it’s boiling over,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who is meeting next week with GOP congressional leaders. “The consequences are both moral and political.”
In their letter to House members, the religious leaders wrote: “Common-sense fixes to our immigration policies are long overdue.”
On Tuesday, a similar letter was sent to lawmakers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more than 600 business associations and companies.
Read more: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/02/26/evangelical-catholic-leaders-pressure-gop-on-immigration/

CREATORS SYNDICATE (Chavez Op-Ed): New conservative debate on immigration is a good sign
By Linda Chavez
March 3, 2014
A new debate has arisen among prominent conservatives over whether passing an immigration overhaul would be good or bad for Americans, with syndicated columnist George Will weighing in on the pro-reform side and talk-show host Laura Ingraham arguing against. This is a good thing. Until now, few prominent conservatives have been willing to venture into the pro-immigration-reform camp, which meant that the arguments advanced in favor of reform tended to be dismissed by grassroots conservatives. Now maybe the actual arguments will get proper attention.
Three issues are central to the debate: border security, assimilation and the economic effects of immigration. Those on the right who oppose reform focus especially on the first two. But the facts don’t bear out conservative hand-wringing on either one.
The border has never been so secure. The flow of illegal immigration into this country is at a 40-year low, and deportation rates are higher than they have been at any time in our history. Conservatives can — and should — claim some credit for this. We now spend more on securing our borders than we do on all other federal law-enforcement efforts combined. And whatever else President Barack Obama has failed to do, he has deported more illegal immigrants than any president before him: 2 million since he took office.
Recently, in his column, Will made the case that conservatives may be underestimating the assimilative power of the American experience. In response, Ingraham argued that “20.8 percent of Americans don’t speak English at home,” noting that the percentage is up about 3 points since 2000. But her data don’t actually make the case that present-day immigrants, mostly Hispanics, are assimilating at slower rates than previous groups, as she apparently believes.
Read more: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/03/03/new-conservative-debate-on-immigration-is-a-good-sign.html
Linda Chavez writes for Creators Syndicate.

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