National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead April 7-11

April 07, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

“Our country has been the beneficiary of so many immigrant groups that had the courage and the fortitude to come to America. They came fleeing horrific conditions and harboring a dream of a better life for the children. They were some of the most industrious, ambitious and enterprising citizens of their own countries and brought enormous energy and good will to their new homeland. Their hard work and sacrifices have made this country great.”

— Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean O'Malley in his homily at the April 1 Catholic Mass on the Arizona-Mexico border


America Trapped Between Overzealous Enforcement System, Obstinate Congress
This week, conservative leaders are speaking out about how our broken immigration system leaves American communities trapped between a rock and a hard place. It separates families, undermines our economy and destabilizes communities across America.

Among the conservative voices highlighting these concerns is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who spoke Sunday about people who come to the United States to provide for their families. Meanwhile, new data on deportations and detention translate to pain and fear for immigrant families and an unnecessary financial burden on our country.

And while the business community craves visas that spur growth by bringing skilled workers to our country or keeping them here, the annual cap on such visas has been reached after less than a week, USCIS announced today. Companies that applied for the visas could win the lottery for the year that begins Oct. 1 — and if not, they’ll have to try again next year.

As analyses of Republican primary breakdowns show that support for immigration reform is not a losing issue, farmers, tech leaders and local political leaders from across the country continue to recognize the importance of immigrants to our cities and communities. And following last week’s border Mass in Arizona, faith leaders continue to speak out on the immense human cost while immigration reform waits.

All of these constituencies will hold events across the country during the two-week April congressional recess that begins next week. They will reinforce the call for a long-term solution to our broken system, a call that only Congress can answer by voting on commonsense reform.

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: WASHINGTON POST: Jeb Bush: Many illegal immigrants come out of an ‘act of love’
By Ed O'Keefe
April 6, 2014
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush said Sunday that many who illegally come to the United States do so out of an "act of love" for their families and should be treated differently than people who illegally cross U.S. borders or overstay visas.
The comments came during an event marking the 25th anniversary of the presidency of George H. W. Bush at the library and museum that bears the name of the Bush patriarch. The event was closed to reporters, but moderated by Fox News anchor Shannone Bream and portions of the event were later broadcast on the Fox News Channel.
Asked about immigration, Bush started by saying that a bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last year made "a good effort" at proposing ways to ensure that people overstaying visas leave the country.
"A great country ought to know where those folks are and politely ask them to leave," he said, adding later that properly targeting people who overstay visas "would restore people's confidence" in the nation's immigration system.
"There are means by which we can control our border better than we have. And there should be penalties for breaking the law," he added. "But the way I look at this -- and I'm going to say this, and it'll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families -- the dad who loved their children -- was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. [...]
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CINCINNATI ENQUIRER (Natorp Op-ed): We need immigrant workers
By Ken Natorp
April 3, 2014
In 1916, my grandfather, William A. Natorp, a German immigrant and horticulture student, placed an advertisement in a Cincinnati flower shop window for landscape services. In a short time, he realized he could not get the quality of plants he needed for his landscape clients, and made the decision to grow his own, creating Natorp's Nursery.
He began transforming the gardens and landscapes of Greater Cincinnati and created devoted customers based on his meticulous manner of transforming their yards and gardens.
So began a true immigrant success story and what many in the area now know as the most recognizable name in Cincinnati-area gardening. Today, Natorp's is the largest grower in the region. We raise over 1 million plants annually including annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs in our Mason nursery. We're proud that we maintain a rigorous selection of plants. We have taken the experience of growing for nearly 100 years and combined it with innovation to advance the company into the future.
As the home to more than 75,000 farms, Ohio boasts agriculture as a top industry. One in seven Ohioans is employed in an agriculture-related job. Thanks to rich soil and favorable weather conditions for crops and plants, growers like us are able to contribute over $100 billion to our state economy every year.
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Ken Natorp is chairman of W.A. Natorp Corp.

PRODUCE NEWS: Produce industry re-thinks GOP contributions over immigration reform
By Joan Murphy
April 01, 2014
WASHINGTON — Produce companies are getting so frustrated over congressional inaction on immigration reform that they may be rethinking plans to contribute to Republican campaigns.
Agriculture groups are beginning to loudly criticize House Republicans for not moving on immigration reform at a time when the opportunity for legislation appears to be slipping away.
Earlier this year, groups said they were hoping by this summer to get a bill on the House floor after last year's elections spurred hope the House would take up the issue. The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill in a bipartisan vote last year, but any momentum in the House appears to have stalled.
Western Growers Association said its members may withhold contributions in congressional races if candidates are against comprehensive immigration overhaul, according to a New York Times story published March 30.
Tom Nassif, president of WGA, told the Times reporter, "I can tell you, if the Republicans don't put something forward on immigration, there is going to be a very loud hue and cry from us in agriculture. We are a tremendously important part of the party, and they should not want to lose us."
Western Growers is not the only group taking a hard look at immigration reform as a litmus test.
"We've heard over and over from House Republicans what they're not going to do. We want to hear what they are going to do," Lisa Lochridge, public affairs director for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, told The Produce News.
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