National Immigration Forum

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The Week Ahead: April 8-12

April 08, 2013 - Posted by Katherine Vargas

"Through this [Bibles, Badges and Business] work an entirely new front has been opened up of support from the right on immigration reform. In the past it’s been dominated by the extremists. Now you have rational conservatives talking about what the right thing to do is.”
—Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum explaining how 2013 debate is different than previous immigration reform efforts. Politico, "Conservative Groups Back Immigration Reform," April 5, 2013


Congress Returns to Washington
Congress is back in session after a two-week long recess filled with pro-reform events across the country, including a Christian radio immigration ad campaign in strategic states. All eyes are now on the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” and the much anticipated introduction of immigration reform legislation.

Senate and House negotiators sounded confident about the overhaul process on the Sunday political talk shows. Sen. Schumer (D-NY) said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he hoped to get a deal done by the end of the week, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he was very optimistic that the House’s plan will be able to “go into conference with the Senate and be able to resolve differences,” and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) assured on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the “politics of self-deportation are behind us.”

On Wednesday, April 10, “tens of thousands” of community, labor and immigrant rights supporters and immigrant families are expected to participate in the “Time is Now” immigration rally, hosted by CASA de Maryland, SEIU32BJ and the Alliance for Citizenship. In addition to the rally, thousands will visit their representatives in Congress to urge prompt action on reform that includes a direct and just path to citizenship.

The President’s Budget and Immigration
President Obama will submit the fiscal 2014 budget plan on Wednesday, weeks after the House and Senate completed action on competing budget blueprints. As in years past, the Forum will provide an analysis to better understand how the President wants to fund immigration –related programs and how the Administration is preparing for immigration 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: POLITICO: Conservative groups back immigration reform
By: Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman
April 5, 2013 04:38 AM EDT
High-profile conservative groups are taking on an unexpected cause: passing immigration reform.
A diverse mix of the Washington consultant class is cutting TV ads, revving up the grassroots and advising lawmakers on messaging and strategy in hopes of getting a bill across the finish line this year.
The surprising effort is a new element to the immigration debate — and one that could influence Republican lawmakers reluctant to support the cause.
The next few weeks will be a critical phase for the immigration fight, as lawmakers return to Washington from a two-week recess to face mounting pressure from advocates on both sides.
“We’re doing it to make sure…that Republican congressman and senators feel comfortable,” said American for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist in an interview. “They look out and hear the guys on talk radio, and they go ‘Oh my goodness, everybody out there thinks this. That’s not necessarily where I was, but I guess if everybody thinks that way, I’ll either be quiet or go along, or I’ll listen to them so they can convince me.’ They’re now hearing the other side of the issue.”
Conservatives say the strongest case in favor of immigration reform is an economic one, not values-based, arguing that an expanded pool of legal workers will boost the economy — the message that tests best in focus groups.
Read more:

ABC NEWS: What Would Jesus Do? Evangelists Launch Immigration Ad Campaign
By Jim Avila and Serena Marshall
April 3, 2013
It started in South Carolina with Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham urging evangelists to back immigration reform as a way to "fix the problem."
Conservative faith leaders in the Palmetto state are now being joined by church leaders in North Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Florida producing and airing a series of ads designed to change the hard-line views of conservative Christians on the issue.
The Evangelical Immigration Table says the commercials will "educate" the faithful on the Bible's point of view on immigrants.
"White evangelicals have been listening to the voice of the extreme," said the Rev. David Fleming, the senior pastor for Champion Forest Baptist Church of Houston. "Give education to our people, they are changing their minds on this issue."
Fleming said that the undocumented are caught in a system that "isn't working," and is "not only ineffective and inefficient" but treats individuals like "political footballs."
Read more:

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