National Immigration Forum

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The Week Ahead: August 5-9

August 05, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“Congress’s failure to act on immigration would maintain an unproductive status quo and deny countless U.S. companies — and their employees — a much-needed economic boost.”
— Arne Sorenson, chief executive of Marriott, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, August 2


Bibles, Badges and Business Accelerates Push During Local Recess Events
As members of Congress return to their districts for August recess, leaders in the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Network (BBB) are gathering in key congressional districts across the country to emphasize the benefits of immigration reform and urge their lawmakers to take action after they return to Washington in September.

This week, local BBB events taking place in Glendale, Arizona; Bloomington, Illinois; Greeley, Colorado; and Pueblo, Colorado will feature speakers from the local faith, law enforcement and business communities discussing the need for commonsense, broad immigration reform. These local voices reflect the growing number of Americans speaking out in support of 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: ASSOCIATED PRESS: Companies Help Immigrants Obtain US Citizenship
By Associated Press
August 03, 2013
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — For immigrants working toward the American Dream, some employers are now helping them reach their dream of becoming Americans.
Health clinics, hotels and a clothing factory are pairing up with immigrant advocates to offer on-site citizenship assistance as one of the perks of the job in greater Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and Silicon Valley as they aim to make naturalization more convenient for the 8.5 million legal immigrants eligible to become U.S. citizens.
The effort is billed as a win-win for both employee and employers: Workers avoid legal fees and having to shuttle to and from law offices to complete applications; companies create a deeper bond with immigrant workers and there's little cost as nonprofits pick up the tab.
"You create some sense of loyalty," said Leonie Timothee, human resources manager at InterContinental Miami, a luxury hotel that has helped six employees apply to naturalize since last year. "It is going to be a part of you for the rest of your life, and to know your place of employment helped you, assisted you in becoming a citizen — I think that's a great deal."
In most cases, immigrants can apply to become an American citizen after having a green card for five years and passing English and civics tests. But they often take longer to do so because they can't afford the application fees, fear their English isn't good enough or simply don't know enough about the process, studies have shown.
While high-tech companies frequently sponsor foreign workers for visas or green cards, most companies haven't gotten involved in the naturalization process. Their involvement usually ends at getting work papers unless the employee needs to travel extensively overseas or obtain national security clearance only available to a citizen, said Angelo Paparelli, an immigration attorney who specializes in employment-based issues.
Since last year, 19 companies have signed up to participate in the effort by the Washington-based National Immigration Forum to help more people become citizens. The focus of the so-called Bethlehem Project is on low-wage workers, who often face additional hurdles to naturalization such as long hours and extensive commutes and who may lack the cash to hire an immigration lawyer to help them complete the paperwork.
Read more:

NBC NEWS: From politics to the pulpit, faith groups see 'the hand of God' in immigration reform
By Carrie Dann, Political Reporter, NBC News
August 3, 2013
When lawmakers return to their home districts this August, they’re likely to hear strident opinions about immigration reform from local business owners, farmers, political activists, talk radio devotees and regular citizens engaged in the democratic process.
But many Christian leaders are hoping that they also hear the voice of the Almighty as well.
“It is very difficult to argue theologically that Jesus would be opposed to immigration reform,” says Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the leader of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “Beyond the issue of the public policy, the heart of God is for those that are suffering and for the oppressed and the marginalized.”
Rodriguez’s group – encompassing more than 40,000 evangelical congregations nationwide – is just one of many faith-based organizations hoping to influence the immigration debate this fall by invoking scripture and the compassion of God, from the pulpit and at political events.
Pro-reform Christian organizations trace their support for the overhaul from Biblical passages and parables; the most often-quoted is Matthew 25:35, which reads “ For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in.” Leviticus 19 is another common refrain: “The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Read more:

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