National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead: August 12-16

August 12, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“Our immigration system is broken and in need of real solutions to the problems we currently face. Everyone, from small businesses to the high-tech industry to the agriculture industry, believes now is the time to do something meaningful. I am committed to addressing immigration this year and will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to do just that. ”

— Republican Congressman Joe Heck, (NV-03), at the SXSW V2V “America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Case for Fixing our Broken Immigration System“ panel in Las Vegas, Aug. 12


DACA Turns 1
One year ago this week, on Aug. 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Two months earlier, the Obama administration had announced the new program. In the year since DACA has been in place, more than 400,000 young undocumented immigrants who meet the program’s requirements have been granted a two-year reprieve from the threat of deportation — and the opportunity to work and attend school.

Even as DACA has provided a taste of the difference immigration reform can make, it is limited and only temporary. Support for permanent and broad reform Congress mirrors broad support for the program — and “Dreamers” including those who have received deferred action support broad immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship not just for themselves but for their parents friends and other relatives as well. Congress must move forward with long-term, bipartisan solutions.

Local Recess Events Urge Action — and See Results — from Members of Congress:
The momentum for reform continues to build as the Bibles, Badges and Business network and the Evangelical Immigration Table hold events across the country while members of Congress spend time at home over the August recess. From Nevada to Ohio, Illinois to Georgia, leaders in local faith, law enforcement and business communities are speaking out in support of immigration reform and urging their lawmakers to do the same. This week alone, Las Vegas; Dayton, Ohio; Grand Junction, Colo.; Turlock, Calif.; Champaign, Ill.; Lawrenceville, Ga.; Wausau, Wis; and Rome, Ga. will play host to local Bibles, Badges and Business events urging Congress to act on immigration reform after the August recess concludes.

Already, progress is emerging from key districts as more and more Republican House members came out in favor of a path to earned citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform. Last week alone, Congressman Daniel Webster of Florida and Congressman Dave Reichert of Washington stated their support for a path to citizenship that holds people accountable but provides them with a road out of the shadows. Jordan Fabian of ABC even asked, “Is Republican opposition to a pathway to citizenship melting away in the August heat?”

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: ABC NEWS: Republicans May Be Changing Minds on Immigration Reform
By Serena Marshall
August 8, 2013
Members of Congress have been on recess for only a few days, but it already seems the time away from Washington means more support for a pathway to citizenship among some Republicans.
In the past few days, two Republican members of the House of Representatives — Daniel Webster in Florida, Aaron Schock in Illinois — have expressed preliminary support for a way to legalize undocumented immigrants and allow them to eventually earn full citizenship. Even the House GOP whip, Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), announced support for legal status, although he stopped just short of supporting full citizenship.
The announcements come on the cusp of an intense campaign by pro-immigration advocates targeting key House members at town-hall events; it’s all part of a larger five-week plan for hundreds of rallies, petition drives and other events across the country timed for the Congressional recess.
“Our movement is taking the fight for immigration reform to every corner of the country,” Frank Sharry, executive director at immigration reform advocacy organization America’s Voice, told ABC News in a statement. “Advocates from the left, right and center are intent on surrounding House Republicans with some simple messages: immigration reform is an idea whose time has come, a proposal deserving of your support and an issue that deserves a vote in the House of Representatives where a bipartisan majority in support of it already exists.”
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THE PANTAGRAPH (Illinois): Local businesses want immigration reform
By Kenneth Lowe
August 07, 2013
BLOOMINGTON — Local jobs from farmhand to engineer are being held back by a lack of national immigration reform, local employers said at a panel hosted Wednesday by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce.
The discussion, at the chamber’s headquarters in Bloomington, brought together local business leaders and representatives of groups such as the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition and Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform to hear panelists speak about the local effect of national immigration laws that many called “broken.”
“We hear about how immigration reform will benefit high-tech Silicon Valley companies, but the reality is reform also will benefit large Midwest manufacturing companies like Caterpillar,” said Mark Peters, corporate counsel for Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc.
Peters joined other panelists in calling for a loosening of caps on the number of green cards issued to “high-skilled” workers in the science and engineering fields, a uniform employee verification system across all states and a clear path to citizenship for guest workers.
Caterpillar is at a disadvantage compared to its competitors abroad because of restrictions on the number of foreign workers it can hire under current laws — even as it faces a shortage of qualified American workers, Peters said. Guest workers seeking U.S. citizenship under the current system may wait as long as a decade to be naturalized as their careers stagnate.
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