National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Updates Archives

August Policy Update

August 25, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

In the policy update, Forum staff provide a monthly summary of significant developments in federal and state legislation and policy impacting immigrants and immigration reform.

For the past several weeks, the story of unaccompanied children (UAC)—mainly from Central America—has been the main focus of the immigration policy debate in Washington. Among other issues, the update also includes: how the Obama Administration, federal agencies, and members of Congress have struggled to deal with this increase in arrivals at the border, which has provided new excuses for opponents of immigration reform; developments on administrative action that President Obama may take; state developments to be more welcoming of immigrants.

Read the full policy update here.

The Week Ahead August 25-29

August 25, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“This is not solely a law enforcement issue — far from it. It affects our national and local economies as well as our local communities. We must all work together toward solutions that will not only keep desperate children from serving as bait for some of the world’s most dangerous criminals, but also provide an orderly way to determine who is eligible to come to, and remain in, the United States — children and adults alike. The time to act is now.”

— Law enforcement leaders Clarence W. Dupnik, Sheriff of Pima County, Ariz.; Tony Estrada, Sheriff of Santa Cruz County, Ariz.; Margaret Mims, Sheriff of Fresno County, Calif.; Michael W. Tupper, Chief of Police in Marshalltown, Iowa; and Roberto A. Villaseñor, Chief of Police in Tucson, Ariz. in an Aug. 21st joint op-ed

SUMMARY

In End of Summer Lull, Speculation over Immigration Continues
Even during the dog days of August, one of Washington’s favorite parlor games remains speculating on the timing and details of administrative action on immigration. As the White House has continued to meet with representatives of business and agriculture to discuss administrative action, many state and local governments are starting to come up with their own solutions. Define American launched a campaign calling for expanded protection from deportation last week when 11 undocumented individuals currently ineligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson asking to submit applications for DACA.
Meanwhile, deportations continue to separate families and send unaccompanied children back to perilous situations, and the federal government now faces a lawsuit over immigrant detention tactics.

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 READS: FOX NEWS LATINO: (Dupnik, Estrada, Mims, Tupper and Villaseñor Op-Ed): The Protection Of Vulnerable Children Is Paramount, No Matter Where They Were Born
By Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, Sheriff Tony Estrada, Sheriff Margaret Mims, Chief Michael W. Tupper and Chief Roberto A. Villaseñor
August 21, 2014
The number of children fleeing violence in Central America has risen dramatically this year, and many of them are seeking safety in the United States. As we enforce our laws, we must also respond humanely.
These children often have endured danger and chaos in their home countries, followed by harrowing journeys to escape. They are desperate for safety, but our government’s challenge in responding to the situation has generated concern on all sides.
As law enforcement officials, the safety of our communities is our No. 1 priority. The protection of vulnerable children is paramount — no matter where they were born. That job becomes even more critical for children who may have been exploited by criminals.
Recent reports demonstrate how drug cartels and smugglers target vulnerable populations, including children and their families and profit from them. Not being in the company of their families, children who flee in search of safety and have ended up in a new country are especially susceptible to exploitation.
Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/opinion/2014/08/21/opinion-protection-vulnerable-children-is-paramount-no-matter-where-were-born/
Clarence W. Dupnik is the Sheriff of Pima County, Ariz.; Tony Estrada is the Sheriff of Santa Cruz County, Ariz.; Margaret Mims is the Sheriff of Fresno County, Calif.; Michael W. Tupper is the Chief of Police in Marshalltown, Iowa; Roberto A. Villaseñor is Chief of Police in Tucson, Ariz.

RELIGION & POLITICS (Salguero Post): We Must Fix Our Broken Immigration System
By Gabriel Salguero
August 19, 2014
The U.S. immigration system is broken. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have argued that the immigration system is in urgent need of an overhaul. Essentially we have a twentieth-century immigration system addressing twenty-first century immigration realities. The question is not whether or not we need to repair a broken system but rather what should be done to repair this broken immigration system. I am reminded of the existential question of Martin Luther King, Jr., at the height of the civil rights movement: “Where do we go from here? Chaos or community?”
As an evangelical leader, Scripture and Christian tradition help shape the principles I bring to bear on the immigration debate. St. Augustine provides a guiding question for Christians interested in moral laws and good policies. When it comes to any action or law, Augustine asks, “What is the summa bonum (highest good)?” Christians and all people of good will should relentlessly pursue the highest good. The highest good could modernize our immigration system while providing a way for 11 million people, created in the image of God, to come out of the shadows. For the sake of our shared humanity, we must find a better way forward.
Read more: http://religionandpolitics.org/2014/08/19/we-must-fix-our-broken-immigration-system/

The Week Ahead August 18-22

August 18, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“The legislative process in the United States regarding immigration has come to a standstill, but a life of doubt and fear continues for thousands of men, women and children who are detained or living in the shadows and facing possible deportation. Even if Congress continues to abrogate its political and moral responsibilities, the Church must continue to respond. Waiting is not an option.”

— Dr. Mark S. Young, the President of Denver Seminary, in an August 13th op-ed in the Christian Post

SUMMARY

With Congress in Recess, Attention Turns to Executive Action
On the anniversary of the President’s 2012 DACA announcement, studies and stories continue to show how that administrative relief vastly improved the lives of many young immigrants. With members of Congress in their home districts for August recess without having made progress on immigration legislation, attention has turned to anticipated administrative action this fall: What will the president do, and when will he announce it?

As the Administration and other interested parties discuss different options, the business community is also weighing in on potential beneficial fixes to the broken immigration system.
Regardless of the scope or the details of potential administrative action, the bottom line remains: to get more than short-term fixes to our broken immigration system, our country needs Congress to take up long-term reform that aligns with our nation’s values of the rule of law, economic opportunity, justice and compassion.

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 READS: AUSTIN.COM (Texas): This Austin Pastor Is Convincing Republicans To Embrace Immigration Reform
August 11, 2014
Tim Moore is a Christian on a mission, but not the typical kind.
The senior pastor of the Walk Worthy Baptist Church in Austin has been traveling the state and nation in an effort to convince his fellow conservative Republicans to “listen to reason” and consider what the Bible has to say about immigrants finding their way to the shores of the United States. Though he leads a small church in our city, he has the ear of some of the most influential Evangelical pastors around the country, as part of the Evangelical Immigration Table supported by the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
The names of those entities should tell you that Moore and the folks he runs with are nobody’s liberals.
After covering immigration as a journalist for the past decade, I can tell you the truth is this doesn’t break down along the traditional ideological or partisan lines. No, this is a battle between the pragmatic and those who harbor hate in their hearts for “the other.” As evidence: Pastor Moore faced blistering criticism from some on the right after writing in the Austin American Statesman this past week that “Christians have a moral obligation” to the immigrant children who have flooded the border recently.
Read more: http://www.austin.com/austin-baptist-pastor-crusades-compassion-immigration/

THE CHRISTIAN POST (Young Op-Ed): The Church Must Continue to Respond on Immigration
By Mark S. Young
August 13, 2014
This summer, just as we do every summer, we celebrated the independence of our country and the freedom we enjoy as American citizens. This freedom gives us the ability to worship, to work, and to move freely about the United States without fear.
However, for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in our country, this freedom is not an option. And now, hundreds of children with no hope of enjoying that same freedom in their own countries are flocking to the United States, crossing the border in search of safety and an opportunity to escape lawlessness, violence, poverty and corruption.
As an evangelical Christian and an American citizen, I am concerned with the response to the families and children who are coming into our country.
By law, government agencies must house the undocumented, unaccompanied children who are detained until there is a safe place for them to go while they await deportation proceedings. So far, housing and care for these children has been inadequate, to say the least.
Read more: http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-church-must-continue-to-respond-on-immigration-124776/
Dr. Mark S. Young is the President of Denver Seminary.

WASHINGTON POST (Smith Op-Ed): Employers help legal residents achieve citizenship
By Steve Smith
August 15, 2014
Reth Hem, a housekeeper at the Grand Hyatt Washington for nearly 27 years, has always dreamed of becoming a citizen.
Her dream was an elusive one. Between working long hours to support herself and her family, having little outside help and the prohibitive cost of the process — upward of $2,000 — she kept putting it off.
Until this year, when starting the process to become a citizen became as easy as showing up to work. Now Hem and 29 other Grand Hyatt employees are taking the next step.
This is thanks to the Bethlehem Project, an innovative partnership that provides citizenship assistance to eligible employees at the work site. After attending a two-hour information session and receiving one-on-one help with the application, Hem is preparing for the exam and awaiting a notice from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with her test date. If she passes, she will be given an oath ceremony date and will become a U.S. citizen.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/employers-help-legal-residents-achieve-citizenship/2014/08/15/8aa20380-1e32-11e4-82f9-2cd6fa8da5c4_story.html
The writer is the general manager of Grand Hyatt Washington.

The Week Ahead August 11-15

August 11, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“I believe it is past time that we look at this issue through the lens of God’s word, the Bible, rather than emotions, personal experience or politics.”

— Ronnie Floyd, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, in an August 3rd sermon to his Northwest Arkansas church

SUMMARY

August Recess Brings Calls for Compassion, Pressure from Constituents

Even as the answer on what to do on immigration is still a heated debate, the first week of August recess brought appeals for a sympathetic response to the UAC crisis as well as positive signs for Republicans moving forward on the issue.

Last week alone, the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ronnie Floyd, and Rep. David Simpson, a Republican State Representative, both issued calls for compassion at the border. Meanwhile, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) joined the ranks of Republican members of Congress who openly supported immigration reform this year and sailed to primary victories. His victory is further evidence that support for immigration reform is not necessarily a losing issue for Republicans facing primaries.

But while the national conversation over how best to address the number of unaccompanied minors at our border continues to elicit responses from all sides of the debate, the treatment of families and children detained in Artesia and other facilities along the border continues to raise significant due process concerns. It has also led many to question the practice of detaining children and families rather than employing less costly and more humane alternatives.

On Friday, Colorado evangelical leaders are joining Texas law enforcement and elected leaders in McAllen, Texas for a roundtable discussion on the current humanitarian crisis, and the possible paths forward on immigration reform. Meanwhile, screenings of the Evangelical Immigration Table film, The Stranger, are continuing across the country, from the Carolinas to the Midwest.

Before Congress returns to a September full of contentious issues, constituents from across the country are making sure that their legislators know that immigration reform remains a top concern back home.

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: AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN (Moore Op-Ed): Christians have a moral obligation to migrant children
By Tim Moore
August 4, 2014
Our state is at the center of a national crisis: Tens of thousands of children and teenagers have arrived at our border, without parents, fleeing violence-plagued Central America. The situation has brought out the best and the worst of our state.
Churches have rallied to provide care and support for children. As Christians, we understand that Jesus explicitly commands us to welcome, love and protect children. National leaders from institutions such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have visited in recent days to better understand the realities on the ground.
They have challenged their congregations to respond out of compassion, rather than fear, and have pleaded for a response from our elected officials that prioritizes the welfare of children. Regrettably, many elected officials do not seem to have gotten the message. Too many within our Congress have rallied around sound-bite rhetoric that makes for terrible policy.
Read more: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/opinion/moore-christians-have-a-moral-obligation-to-migran/ngtck/

THE WEEK (Lewis Column): Hey, GOP: American exceptionalism demands compassion at the border
By Matt K. Lewis
August 1, 2014
If a child showed up at your doorstep, begging for help, what would you do?
Most Americans, I suspect, would offer help, even if that meant simply calling the police, who would, hopefully, ascertain whether the child was really in danger. But a lot of Americans who would respond to such a scenario with compassion also believe that America should simply shut its door to desperate refugees.
I would suggest that a moral nation has an obligation to come to the aid of children who are fleeing grave danger. A nation as blessed as America ought to be a force for good in the world. "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."
Read more: http://theweek.com/article/index/265689/hey-gop-american-exceptionalism-demands-compassion-at-the-border?utm_source=links&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=twitter

TEXAS TRIBUNE (Simpson Post): The case for compassion at the border
By David Simpson
July 25, 2014
What would you do to protect your children? Would you speed or run a red light to get them away from danger?
If gangs were threatening to kill your 9-year-old son if he did not carry packages for them, would you move out of the neighborhood? Would you risk trespassing on someone else’s property to get to safety?
If you couldn’t take your family to safety yourself, would you pay someone to take them for you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be able to understand the motivations of some of the people coming across our southern border seeking asylum.
Standing in the detention centers in Weslaco, McAllen and Del Rio and at a shelter in Los Fresnos earlier this month, hearing the stories, seeing the faces and looking into the eyes of children and parents, I saw that hope is the driving force behind the current surge of families and unaccompanied minors crossing our border, who represent about half of the immigrants detained by the U.S. Border Patrol in South Texas.
Read more: http://www.tribtalk.org/2014/07/25/the-case-for-compassion-at-the-border/

The Week Ahead August 4-8

August 04, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“What we need to do as a nation is to understand the human rights of all human families. I think it’s imperative that due process is implemented for all children, but some of the legislation we are looking at doesn’t have those provisions. Children shouldn’t be expedited to the point where we don’t have justice. Also, I just don’t see how, if we don’t deal with a long-term immigration reform fix, we won’t see this come up again and again in the future.”

— Mayor Tony Martinez of Brownsville, Texas on a press call Wednesday

SUMMARY

Once again, Congress Leaves Town Empty Handed

Last week, Congress missed an opportunity to enact smart, effective and bipartisan solutions to the urgent crisis at the border.

The Senate left town on Thursday without passing their supplemental, while on Friday the House decided to vote on bills weakening protections for children fleeing violence, provide next-to-no funding for immigration judges and legal representation, waste valuable National Guard resources, and coldly end DACA for future and current DREAMers. Ending DACA is a political ploy unrelated to the crisis at hand and accomplishes nothing in mitigating the crisis on our border.

Now, they’ve all returned to their districts for August recess, yet again kicking the can down the road to address our severely broken immigration system.

Americans recognize that we need a responsible answer to deal humanely with migrant children and families. A broad majority also wants immigration reform. Congress is failing us on both counts.

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: NEWS & OBSERVER (North Carolina) (Editorial): Faith leaders show the right response to migrant children
July 24, 2014
They are running to America, these thousands of children from Central America, not to sell drugs or steal or any of the other things some in the United States assume, wrongly, about immigrants. They are running to live, to escape drug violence, slavery, torture and death.
They are running because they have little choice.
And yet, in the hearts of some Americans, there is not one shred of decency. Not in those who have surrounded busloads of mothers and children and pounded on the doors and shouted threats of violence and called for the children who cannot understand them to be turned away and in effect surrendered to those who have threatened them.
This disgraceful scene in Murrieta, Calif., brought the breaking point for some observers.
Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/07/24/4027787/faith-leaders-show-the-right-response.html

BROWNSVILLE HERALD (Texas): Congress could act today to address border situation
By: Ty Johnson
July 30, 2014
Rio GrandeValley mayors on Wednesday registered their opposition to the Republican proposal to address the immigration situation along the border.
Their dissent came the same day that two congressmen said South Texas voices had been locked out of discussions with GOP leaders last week.
Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez, along with McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia, said Wednesday during a press call that the Republican plan to grant the federal government $659 million for addressing the situation along the border does not go far enough to protect unaccompanied children who arrive in South Texas.
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote today on a bill that offers to fund enhanced border operations until September while changing a 2008 human trafficking law.
That law prevents unaccompanied minors from noncontiguous countries against deportation without an immigration hearing. The GOP proposal would treat those children like Mexicans and Canadians, who are given the option of voluntary removal or a hearing within seven days.
Read more: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/premium/article_d915b8fe-1860-11e4-87be-0017a43b2370.html

THE WEEK (Lewis Column): Hey, GOP: American exceptionalism demands compassion at the border
By Matt K. Lewis
August 1, 2014
If a child showed up at your doorstep, begging for help, what would you do?
Most Americans, I suspect, would offer help, even if that meant simply calling the police, who would, hopefully, ascertain whether the child was really in danger. But a lot of Americans who would respond to such a scenario with compassion also believe that America should simply shut its door to desperate refugees.
I would suggest that a moral nation has an obligation to come to the aid of children who are fleeing grave danger. A nation as blessed as America ought to be a force for good in the world. "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."
Read more: http://theweek.com/article/index/265689/hey-gop-american-exceptionalism-demands-compassion-at-the-border?utm_source=links&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=twitter

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