National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead: December 16-20

December 16, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“I believe [immigration] reform must be comprehensive and include provisions that allow the federal government to continue efforts to strengthen border security, target employers who hire undocumented workers, and modernize the immigration system itself…If comprehensive immigration reform is enacted, and if I am confirmed, a priority for me will be the effective implementation of that reform.”

— Department of Homeland Security nominee Jeh Johnson, in a Dec. 12th letter to six Judiciary panel Republicans, as reported by Politico


Bipartisan Budget Deal in the House Points to Promising 2014 for Immigration:
Last week, the House of Representatives struck a bipartisan two-year budget deal with a strong 332-94 vote. Speaker Boehner’s ardent support of the cross-aisle agreement and dismissal of outside groups’ persuasion tactics, all on the heels of his recent Becky Tallent hire, were taken as good signals for the path forward on immigration reform in the New Year.

With House leadership showing positive signs for action and the budget negotiations cleared from the calendar, all eyes will be on immigration reform come 2014.

Department of Homeland Security Nominations Move Ahead:
The nomination vote for Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is slated to move ahead today, with the expectation that he will be approved for the post. Monday’s votes will conclude those that began last week and lasted into two consecutive all-night sessions. Though Senate leaders have not yet set a date for a final confirmation vote, the Senate is also expected to vote this week on Alejandro Mayorkas’ nomination for Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

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: Budget deal in Congress raises White House hopes on other priorities
By David Nakamura
December 13, 2013
A round of successful deal-making on Capitol Hill has altered the political dynamic in Washington, raising hopes within the Obama administration that stalled second-term priorities such as immigration might still have a chance at success.
The key movement has come in the House, where members of both parties overwhelmingly approved a two-year budget deal and where Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) declared war on the tea party groups that have bedeviled him.
The developments heighten the possibility of progress on issues such as immigration, which has been at the top of President Obama’s agenda since he won more than 70 percent of the Latino and Asian vote on the way to reelection last year.
The budget agreement, which is expected to pass the Senate, also paves the way for a more normal appropriations process that will give the White House additional flexibility in deciding where to spend a bigger pot of money over the next two years. That could allow it to restore funding for priorities such as Head Start and the National Institutes of Health, although Republicans will have a say.
Read more:

ARIZONA DAILY STAR (Kicanas and Click Op-Ed): Community, business and faith leaders call for immigration reform
By Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas and Jim Click
December 12, 2013
We are proud to be Arizonans and residents of a state whose rich history includes pioneers with a strong spirit and the stamina to endure the hardships of settling a rough, untamed country to create a bountiful place to live, rich in nature’s beauty and resources. This history is intimately connected to our neighbor, Mexico, through the Pimeria Alta – the desert – and through the explorations of Fr. Eusebio Kino, S.J., a missionary who traveled through what is now southern Arizona and northern Mexico on horseback in the 1700s.
But unlike the past, the border that once served as a safe and beneficial gateway now includes a wall that separates our countries. Now this passage can result in death from unrelenting heat and treacherous terrain for migrants seeking a better life or protection from persecution. That border, if crossed illegally, can lead to a lifetime burden of fear and anguish, and of living in the shadows of our society, instead of relief from poverty.
Read more:

THE HILL: Boehner gives immigration backers hope
By Niall Stanage
December 13, 2013
Both sides in the immigration debate are watching Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) closely after Thursday evening’s emphatic House vote in favor of a bipartisan budget deal.
The calculus is clear in the minds of immigration reform advocates.
They believe Boehner wants to get some kind of deal done on immigration, and any development that replenishes his political capital helps their cause.
That Boehner’s budget victory came as he took on the outside conservative groups that have hampered his ability to lead his conference is an added plus.
“Boehner’s power in the conference is going to be improved,” said Tamar Jacoby, president of the pro-reform, business-oriented ImmigrationWorks USA, in advance of the 332-94 House vote. “Anything that gives him more juice is a good thing.”
Meanwhile, some of the conservative groups that are now at loggerheads with Boehner worry that the deal-making approach he has adopted on the budget will seep into other issues, including immigration.
Read more:

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