National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Updates Archives

Statement for the Record – Tackling the root causes driving apprehensions at the Southern Border

July 30, 2014 - Posted by Mario Moreno

The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs recently held a hearing call “Challenges at the Border: Examining and Addressing the Root Causes Behind the Rise in Apprehensions at the Southern Border.”

Before the hearing, the Forum outlined the need to address the root causes in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala – including protecting the due process protections of the bipartisan William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 for children apprehended at the border.

Get the full scoop here.

Interior Enforcement Smart Enforcement Priorities

The Week Ahead July 28- August 1

July 28, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“The refugee situation at the border is a moral crisis. There are no easy fixes, but we must start by seeing these children as what they are: loved by God and created in his image. We need to respond to this crisis in a way that honors both human dignity and national security.”

— Dr. Russell Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethnics & Religious Liberty Commission, in a July 22 press statement

SUMMARY

Last Chance for Congressional Leaders to Fix Border Crisis

This is Congress’ last week in town before their extended August break, and they have the opportunity to provide a significant and immediate fix to the nation’s crisis on the border. Just last week, a delegation of evangelical and Catholic leaders toured detention centers and shelters in Texas. After their visit, these leaders urged Congress to take action on what has become a “moral crisis.”

On Sunday, Fox contributor George Will added to the chorus of leaders from across the spectrum calling for a humane and effective response to the humanitarian crisis at our borders. These calls for action will only grow stronger as this week passes by.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
http://immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2014/LegBulletin.pdf

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

MUST READ: NEW YORK TIMES: U.S. Religious Leaders Embrace Cause of Immigrant Children
By Michael Paulson
July 23, 2014

After protesters shouting “Go Home” turned back busloads of immigrant mothers and children in Murrieta, Calif., a furious Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, sat down at his notepad and drafted a blog post detailing his shame at the episode, writing, “It was un-American; it was un-biblical; it was inhumane.”
When the governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, said he did not want the migrants in his state, declaring, “We can’t accept every child in the world who has problems,” clergy in Des Moines held a prayer vigil at a United Methodist Church to demonstrate their desire to make room for the refugees.
America’s response to the arrival of tens of thousands of migrant children, many of them fleeing violence and exploitation in Central America, has been symbolized by an angry pushback from citizens and local officials who have channeled their outrage over illegal immigration into opposition to proposed shelter sites. But around the nation an array of religious leaders are trying to mobilize support for the children, saying the nation can and should welcome them.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/us/us-religious-leaders-embrace-cause-of-immigrant-children.html

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: (Hybels and Castellanos Op-Ed): Speaking up for vulnerable immigrants
By Bill Hybels and Noel Castellanos
July 18, 2014

There is a profound biblical tradition of lament in the face of injustice. In the past few weeks, as the House of Representatives has reportedly determined not to vote on immigration reform and as we witness a crisis of vulnerable children arriving at our southern border, our hearts are heavy.
As Christian leaders, our support of immigration reform has primarily been about people, not politics — people who live in constant fear of deportation, of their families being separated and of the uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring.
We have built our church and ministry on the core conviction that all people matter to God. Our faith does not allow us to simply turn aside as we witness people, many of whom are fellow followers of Christ, being tossed aside and mistreated.

Read more: http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/letters/28727305-474/speaking-up-for-vulnerable-immigrants.html#.U9J_9KPwqVO

Forum Statement for Record on Hearing Concern Port of Entry Modernization

July 28, 2014 - Posted by Mario Moreno

Two weeks ago, the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security met to discuss the infrastructure at our ports of entry, and determine how the federal government prioritizes investments at the border.

The Forum submitted a Statement for the Record that outlined the need to prioritize and modernize our nation's ports of entry.

You can find the full Statement for the Record here.

Borders

The Week Ahead July 21-25

July 21, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“The surge of newly arrived migrant children crossing the U.S. border is yet another example of an immigration system that has failed. The welfare of these children demands a prompt and compassionate response from federal authorities. This most recent crisis is a mandate for Congress to take immediate and reasoned measures to pass commonsense immigration reform now.”

— Police Chief Richard Biehl of Dayton, Ohio, in a July 17 press statement

“The current crisis on the southern border highlights the critical need to address our broken immigration system. It is time for our elected representatives to set petty partisan politics aside and work together to solve these problems. The status quo has failed. We must immediately address the humanitarian crisis facing our country and deal with the scores of children who have fled violence and poverty in their own countries in order to find hope and opportunity in the United States. Congressional inaction on immigration reform is crippling public safety efforts in our local communities and allowing drug cartels to exploit innocent children and families.”

— Police Chief Michael Tupper of Marshalltown, Iowa, in a July 17 press statement

SUMMARY

Evangelical and Catholic Leaders Head to Texas to Tour Border Facilities

In response to the current humanitarian crisis on the border, national leaders from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will visit a Customs and Border Patrol facility in McAllen and a Health and Human Services facility in San Antonio on Tuesday.

After the visits, leaders including Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Dr. Ronnie Floyd, President of Southern Baptist Convention; Dr. Jim Richards, Executive Director, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention; and Bishop Daniel Flores, Catholic Bishop of Brownsville, Texas will host press conferences at each site.

While Congressional leaders continue to debate the issue without productive action and the number of unaccompanied children at our border only continues to grow, these faith leaders are bringing a moral voice to the current humanitarian crisis.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
http://immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2014/LegBulletin.pdf

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

MUST READ: NEW YORK TIMES: Rush to Deport Young Migrants Could Trample Asylum Claims
By Julia Preston
July 19, 2014

HARLINGEN, Tex. — The first time her aunt in Mexico took her out at night, the young teenager was told they were headed to a party.
It was no party. “It was trafficking people, drug dealers,” she recalled. “I just saw a lot of guys. They had guns. I was in shock. I was shaking. The more I was saying no, the more they treated me badly.”
It was the start of a dark ordeal for Andrea H., a Honduran then living in a Mexican border city. Her own relatives, associates of Mexican drug cartel bosses, forced her into prostitution. She was 13.
After two years she ran away, seeking safety in the United States. She tried twice, crossing the Rio Grande, scrambling over fences and hiding in cactus brush in black swarms of mosquitoes. Twice she was caught by the Border Patrol.
But when agents questioned her, Andrea did not tell them why she had fled.
Thinking back to those encounters in an interview last week, Andrea recalled the chill she had felt facing uniformed agents in bleak holding cells at a Border Patrol station within earshot of other migrants she did not know — perhaps with ties to the cartels.
“I was just trying to protect myself, and I was not saying anything to no one,” she said. Twice she agreed to leave voluntarily and was returned to Mexico.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/us/rush-to-deport-young-migrants-could-trample-asylum-claims-.html?_r=1

The Week Ahead July 14-18

July 14, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“The situation at the southern border is frightening indeed, for multiple reasons. Border security is important for the physical safety of any nation, and the care of those fleeing danger is important for the moral integrity of any people. The gospel doesn’t fill in for us on the details on how we can simultaneously balance border security and respect for human life in this case. But the gospel does tell us that our instinct ought to be one of compassion toward those in need, not disgust or anger.”

— Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a July 13 blog post

SUMMARY

Humanitarian Crisis at Border Underscores Effects of Broken System

As the humanitarian crisis surrounding undocumented child immigrants at the border continues, two policy issues are driving the debate in Washington: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) and the administration’s $3.7 billion supplemental budget request.

Currently, there are worrisome signals that TVPRA protections, which were signed into law in 2008 by President Bush with near unanimous support from Congress, might be modified so that the removal of unaccompanied minors from noncontiguous countries could be expedited.

That would be a step backward in ensuring humane treatment of these distressed and unaccompanied minors, as well as for protections against human trafficking that TVPRA established.

Rather than roll back a law designed to protect children from trafficking, we need cost-effective solutions with a history of bipartisan support, including increased numbers of immigration judges and effective alternatives to detention such as ankle bracelets.


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://immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2014/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ:NEW YORK TIMES (Adelson, Buffet and Gates Op-Ed): Break the Immigration Impasse
By Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
July 10, 2014

AMERICAN citizens are paying 535 people to take care of the legislative needs of the country. We are getting shortchanged. Here’s an example: On June 10, an incumbent congressman in Virginia lost a primary election in which his opponent garnered only 36,105 votes. Immediately, many Washington legislators threw up their hands and declared that this one event would produce paralysis in the United States Congress for at least five months. In particular, they are telling us that immigration reform — long overdue — is now hopeless.
Americans deserve better than this.
The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill. But we could without doubt come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us. We hope that fact holds a lesson: You don’t have to agree on everything in order to cooperate on matters about which you are reasonably close to agreement. It’s time that this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington.
Most Americans believe that our country has a clear and present interest in enacting immigration legislation that is both humane to immigrants living here and a contribution to the well-being of our citizens. Reaching these goals is possible. Our present policy, however, fails badly on both counts.

Read more: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/11/opinion/sheldon-adelson-warren-buffett-and-bill-gates-on-immigration-reform.html?emc=edit_th_20140711&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=59075055&_r=1&referrer

WASHINGTON POST (Dionne Column): Bordering on heartless
By E.J. Dionne, Jr.
July 13, 2014

Glenn Beck says he has come under fierce attack from some of his fellow conservatives for a grave transgression.
His crime? He announced plans to bring food, water, teddy bears and soccer balls to at least some of the tens of thousands of Central American children who have crossed the border into the United States.
“Through no fault of their own, they are caught in political crossfire,” Beck said. “Anyone, left or right, seeking political gain at the expense of these desperate, vulnerable, poor and suffering people are reprehensible.”
Beck, not averse to a certain grandiosity, let us know that “I’ve never taken a position more deadly to my career than this.” But assume he’s right — and he may well be. It’s one more sign of how the crisis at our border has brought out the very worst in our political system and a degree of plain nastiness that we should not be proud of as a nation.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-republicans-are-bordering-on-heartless/2014/07/13/cc152306-092e-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html

WASHINGTON TIMES (Ziglar Op-Ed): Let’s not abandon families that seek refuge
By James W. Ziglar
July 11, 2014

On Tuesday, President Obama sent a request to Congress for emergency supplemental appropriations to address the increased flow of families and unaccompanied children crossing our border illegally. The administration also indicated that it will separately work with Congress to relax the legal protections for unaccompanied children in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and it previously announced plans to hold families with children in immigration detention.
Many of these children and families are fleeing horrific conditions in Central America’s Northern Triangle: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. In these countries, violence, persecution and human trafficking are pervasive. Honduras actually has the world’s highest murder rate. Not surprisingly, the U.N. Refugee Agency found that 58 percent of the unaccompanied children are asylum seekers.
How we treat those who request the protection of the United States should be consistent with our country’s ideals and laws. Unfortunately, the administration’s response is falling short.

Read more: http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/11/ziglar-lets-not-abandon-families-that-seek-refuge/












Polls Don’t Lie: Overwhelming Number of Americans Support Immigration Reform

July 10, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

It’s been more than a year since since the US Senate passed the 2013 immigration reform bill, which was the first time any piece of immigration legislation had cleared the Senate in decades. A year later, however, we’re still at an impasse in the House of Representatives.

This in spite of the fact that a majority of polls taken in the last year show that comprehensive immigration reform enjoys wide support among the American public regardless of party identification, ethnicity, or any other demographic break ground.
Some of the highlights:

• A collaborative survey of 10 Republican polling firms suggests that most respondents support letting undocumented immigrants stay. This even holds true for self-identified Tea Party Republicans.

• 83% of respondents in a Center for American Progress and Latino Decisions poll think that immigration reform is very important or somewhat important.

• 61% of respondents in the CAP/Latino Decisions poll would be more willing to listen to Republican proposals if they could pass immigration reform.


Support for Immigration Reform with Opportunity for Undocumented Immigrants to Stay in U.S.



To read the full report and get complete data on the polling results, please click here.


The Week Ahead July 7-11

July 07, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“It’s really as simple as forgetting about the party line issues in between the immigration issue. We need them to drop the R and the D after their names, come together and find a solution.”

— Alan Long, Mayor of Murrieta, Calif., where protesters blocked a bus carrying migrants last week, July 3

SUMMARY

Congress, Administration Must Address Unaccompanied Migrant Children
The conversation around unaccompanied migrant children continues, underscoring the need for an effective, humane response from the Obama administration and Congress.

One focal point continues to be the protestors in Murrieta, Calif., who last week blocked Homeland Security buses from entering the town and delivering migrant children and adults to a processing facility.

Such protests will continue until Congress and the administration work together to respond with a clear process that slows the flow of migrants and addresses those who are now in the U.S. Humane and just treatment must be the top priority as authorities respond according to the law.

Last week, Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49) and 34 of his House Republican colleagues signed a letter that emphasizes politics rather than good policy. It suggests, among other things, that the president end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

With the president expected to send an emergency funding request to Congress this week, migrant children — and our broken immigration system more broadly — need leaders in Washington to engage in a productive conversation that results in solutions.

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://immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2014/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ: MIAMI HERALD (Padrón Op-Ed): It’s a good day to celebrate citizenship
By Eduardo Padrón
July 3, 2014
Well over a year ago, a group of community employers blazed a new trail for civic engagement with their employees. Miami Dade College, the Intercontinental, and The Betsy–South Beach became founding employer partners of the Bethlehem Project. This unprecedented partnership was designed to help green card-holding employees — legal residents — become citizens at very low cost and without leaving the worksite.
As we celebrate Independence Day, the Bethlehem Project has grown to 20 businesses here in Miami, and more than 75 businesses nationwide.
What started as an experiment in Miami has become a national movement. From Los Angeles to New York, employers in healthcare, education, and hospitality are reaching out to their workers with green cards to help them become citizens.
They’re doing so because these employers recognize the immediate benefits of citizenship for their workforce. For workers, the opportunity means the chance to realize their American Dream, open new doors and set even deeper roots in our community.
For businesses, it’s a chance to boost productivity, foster loyalty, and provide a critical benefit to their employees — without any impact on the bottom line. And for the larger community, it’s the opportunity to build new partnerships across industry sectors and encourage a stronger local economy.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/03/4217336/its-a-good-day-to-celebrate-citizenship.html

DAILY BEAST: Even Conservative Evangelical Support Couldn’t Save Immigration Reform
By Jacob Lupfer
July 6, 2014
America’s faith factions are typically divided on the big issues, but there was near-universal religious support for the immigration reform bill that died this week. Why wasn’t it enough?
Last week, Congressional Republicans forced an exasperated President Obama to acknowledge the death—or at least the needless delay—of yet another policy reform in the national interest. One striking feature of the immigration debate has been lost in the lamentations and finger pointing: religious leaders’ near-unanimous support for comprehensive immigration reform.
The politics of America’s faith leaders are as diverse as the manifold sects and theological orientations they represent, making widespread political agreement among them rare. Most social movements of the past found faith leaders on both sides of contentious issues. Churches split over slavery. Protestants fought Catholics over Prohibition. Some Christians opposed the Civil Rights movement while others marched and advocated for racial equality.
Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/06/even-conservative-evangelical-support-couldn-t-save-immigration-reform.html

NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE (Crosby Op-Ed): Praying Rep. Steve Scalise will lead on immigration
By David Crosby
July 4, 2014
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise has vaulted into a formal leadership role within the House of Representatives just as we hear that the House will not be moving immigration reform forward this year.
That would be a major disappointment. Like many other Christians across the nation, I am praying that Rep. Scalise and his colleagues will yet help our country find long-term solutions on this vexing issue. I am disappointed that our elected officials are unwilling to deal with this issue so vital to the welfare of all who live within our borders.
I was personally delighted to see Rep. Scalise elected to serve as House Majority Whip. He has represented his Louisiana district with distinction, including leading on key issues of concern to Christians such as protecting life in the womb and defending religious liberty.
Read more: http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2014/07/praying_rep_steve_scalise_will.html

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