National Immigration Forum

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The Week Ahead: August 26-30

August 26, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“I believe that 90 percent of immigrants come here for the same reason our ancestors did: to have a better life.”

— GOP Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL-06) at an August 21 luncheon in Gardendale, Ala.

SUMMARY

Local Recess Events Press House Members for Action on Immigration Reform
As August nears its close, the intense focus of the Bibles, Badges and Business network is reaping dividends. Last week, Congressman John Carter (TX-31) expressed the nation's need for immigration reform at a BBB roundtable in Belton, Texas (see “Must Read” item below). A few days later, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) expressed his support for an earned pathway to citizenship for the first time. And in Alabama, Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL-06) said he believes immigrants who lack documentation should have the opportunity to earn citizenship (see Quote of the Week above).

With Congress due back in two weeks, the momentum is only growing. Bibles, Badges and Business leaders are only stepping up events across the country while members of Congress are still home: Roundtables and other events this week will take place in Brigham City, Utah; Neenah, Wis.; Cincinnati; Lafayette, Ind.; Orange Park, Fla.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Nashville; and Bloomington, Minn. The roundtables feature local leaders in the faith, law enforcement and business communities urging their members of Congress to take action on immigration reform after they return from recess in September.

Stay up to date on all of the BBB network’s efforts at http://www.bbbwinsaugust.com.

Faith, Law Enforcement and Business Leaders Hold Statewide Telephonics
In addition to this week’s roundtables, leaders in five key states will participate in press calls to underscore their support for comprehensive immigration reform. On Wednesday, leaders from Florida, Texas and California’s evangelical, law enforcement and business communities will join statewide press calls to discuss the importance of immigration to their states. On Thursday, prominent North Carolina and Illinois leaders will hold similar calls. For more information on these press calls, including dial-in information, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 202-383-5994.

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://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ: NEW YORK TIMES: Catholic Leaders to Take Immigration Push to the Pews
By ASHLEY PARKER and MICHAEL D. SHEAR
August 21, 2013
WASHINGTON — Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the country will preach a coordinated message next month backing changes in immigration policy, with some using Sunday Masses on Sept. 8 to urge Congressional passage of a legislative overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.
The decision to embrace political action from the pulpit is part of a broader effort by the Roman Catholic Church and other faith groups that support President Obama’s call for new immigration laws. It includes advertising and phone calls directed at 60 Catholic Republican lawmakers and “prayerful marches” in Congressional districts where the issue has become a divisive topic.
“We want to try to pull out all the stops,” said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the immigration issue was at a now-or-never moment. “They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you’re not successful during the summer, you’re not going to win by the end of the year.”
Catholic leaders, who have tried regularly to wield their clout against Mr. Obama on issues like abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage, are betting that their congregations will be able to exert pressure on reluctant Republicans and wavering Democrats to support the president on immigration. They say they are motivated by the Bible’s teachings and by the reality that many Latino immigrants are Catholics and represent a critical demographic for the church.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/us/politics/catholic-leaders-to-take-immigration-push-to-the-pews.html

WASHINGTON POST (Sargent Post): Here’s what it looks like when a conservative Republican wants immigration reform
By Greg Sargent
August 22, 2013
For some time now, the House conservative posture on immigration reform has been largely defined by GOP Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Steve King. Goodlatte has given voice to the widespread GOP desire to stall reform by addressing it in pieces. King has amplified the raw nativism below the surface of opposition to reform for some — though by no means most — on the right. Fair or not, King has helped tar the GOP among Latinos with an image the party wants to shake.
So it’s worth taking note when a conservative House Republican makes the case for comprehensive immigration reform on humanitarian grounds.
GOP Rep. John Carter of Texas is a member of the House gang of seven, which is set to unveil a compromise this year with citizenship and strict conditions. He is a border state conservative who opposed reform last time. And in a press conference that was reported on by the Kildeen Daily Herald, he made this case:
“Part of what’s wrong with our immigration system is that we keep trying to patch it up,” Carter said. “We need comprehensive reform.”
Reform includes taking into account the needs of business owners, especially in the technology industry, where many companies hire employees from overseas to fill the sector’s jobs. [...]
Reform also includes tackling the difficult problem of just what to do with the nation’s millions of undocumented immigrants. Carter said part of the group’s reforms would ask them to admit they entered the country without proper documentation.
“We don’t want to reward bad behavior,” Carter said. “They are going to have to admit that they’ve come here illegally.” [...]
Carter also called for compassion for those the policy will impact, pointing to the presence of local religious leaders present at the meeting Monday
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/08/22/heres-what-it-looks-like-when-a-conservative-republican-wants-immigration-reform/

FOX NEWS LATINO: Immigration Reform Does Not Rest During Congressional Summer Recess
Aug. 21, 2013
It may be quieter than usual on Capitol Hill with lawmakers on summer recess.
But the pressure to act on immigration hardly has subsided.
In town halls back in the politicians’ home districts, the topic of immigration is arising, and often dominating, as lawmakers meet with their constituents to gauge their feelings on various issues. And several groups on opposing sides of the immigration debate have planned rallies and ad campaigns aimed at influencing the immigration reform effort.
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who was part of the so-called Gang of Eight – four Democrats and four Republicans – who drafted a comprehensive immigration reform bill that the Senate passed in June, has spent part of his summer recess urging his constituents to lobby the state’s congressional delegation to support the measure.
But in a Virginia town hall, Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, told the audience that that the House must chart its own course on immigration even if it never results in a bill President Barack Obama can sign.
He said that he’ll do everything he can to ensure the House never takes up the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill. Goodlatte said the House will proceed with individual immigration bills once lawmakers return to Washington in September from their summer recess, beginning with bills on interior enforcement, border security and workplace verification.
Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2013/08/21/immigration-reform-does-not-rest-during-congressional-summer-recess/

HUFFINGTON POST (Noorani Post): Detention Costs Convey Immigration Reform's Urgency
By Ali Noorani
August 22, 2013
Imagine if Congress could save Americans $1.44 billion in one simple step.
Well, it can -- by making sure immigration reform includes smarter policies for detaining unauthorized immigrants.
Broad immigration reform will be good for our nation's bottom line for a multitude of reasons. Immigrants are key to American ingenuity and competitiveness, and new Americans take risks and help create jobs.
Immigrants even strengthen the U.S. housing market.
Our immigrant detention policies not only lock up the financial contributions of immigrants, but also cost us $5 million per day.
Those of us who want our government to spend our money more wisely can point to the huge potential for reform to save on detention costs. With a streamlined legal immigration process, fewer immigrants will end up in detention.
The dollar amounts are not small change.
According to "The Math of Immigration Detention," a newly updated National Immigration Forum report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spends almost $2 billion per year on immigration detention.
Right now, we could save almost 80 percent of that cost -- $1.44 billion -- if we switched to effective alternatives to detention for detainees who have not been convicted of a serious crime.
Yet the House of Representatives has signaled that it plans to take the opposite approach. Its budget for the 2014 fiscal year would boost immigration detention spending to $5.6 million per day -- $164 a day for each detainee.
The U.S. is at a crossroads when it comes to immigration, and the House of Representatives is at the wheel. Its budget would keep us on the same expensive road -- call it Enforcement Avenue.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-noorani/detention-costs-immigration-reform_b_3792497.html

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