National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Blog & Updates

The Week Ahead: December 9-13

December 09, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“I am far from the only member of my party to recognize that our system needs change. To reap the economic and social benefits that will follow top-to-bottom immigration reform, we must begin by passing legislation to address every aspect of immigration reform in the House. I will remain focused on that goal this year and next.”

— Republican Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10), in a Dec. 3 op-ed


Positive Movement in the House Heralds Promising 2014 for Reform
Last week, House Speaker John Boehner (OH-08) hired Becky Tallent as his immigration policy advisor — a move widely regarded as a sign that he intends to prioritize immigration reform in 2014. Tallent will join Boehner’s office from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she was director of immigration policy. She also served as Chief of Staff for Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and played a crucial role in the immigration reform efforts of 2006-2007.

Boehner’s staffing announcement came just before the Evangelical Immigration Table announced its latest advertising effort, featuring ads that focus on prayers for Speaker Boehner in the Express newspaper in Washington, D.C., and on news-talk radio in D.C., Christian radio in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and statewide in North Carolina, and Spanish radio in Orange County, Calif.

Republican Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) also revealed details of a draft legalization proposal last week — another sign of probable movement on immigration in the House. His proposal, if introduced, would be the first piece of legalization legislation put forward by a Republican representative.

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 (Andres Op-Ed): Immigrants, like me, want to succeed. Congress should let them.
By Jose Andres
December 6, 2013
Jose Andres is a chef and restaurant owner.
The first time I saw America was from my perch on the mast of a Spanish naval ship, where I could spot the Statue of Liberty reaching proudly into the open, endless American sky. At night, I would often wonder whether that sky was the explanation for the stars on the American flag — put there so the world would know that this is a place of limitless possibility, where anyone from anywhere can strive for a better life.
I recalled that starry sky on Nov. 13, when after 23 years in America, my wife, Patricia, and I were sworn in as United States citizens. The naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, attended by 72 other tearful immigrants from 35 countries, was a moment I had dreamed about since the day I arrived in America with little more than $50 and a set of cooking knives, determined to belong. I eventually settled in Washington, where my partners and I have been fortunate to build a restaurant business that now employs thousands of Americans across the country.
And yet, I have become a citizen at a time when legislation is stalled in Congress that would afford millions of other immigrants the chance to earn their citizenship, too. With this bill, which already has the support of many Republican and most Democratic senators, we are closer than ever to achieving immigration reform. So I’d like to address the members of Congress who still have concerns about passing the bill:
I understand that this is a difficult and complicated issue. But we are not asking for an open-door policy that allows unregulated immigration. Indeed, the bill before Congress would do more to secure our borders than any other law in history. What we’re asking is to give the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already part of America’s DNA a chance — a chance to prove they are worthy of citizenship; a chance to contribute more to this incredible country; a chance to belong.
Read more:

GRAND RAPIDS PRESS (Michigan) (Heartwell Op-Ed): As new Americans strengthen our city, we need a better immigration process
By George Heartwell
December 9, 2013
Area business and faith leaders recently met in Grand Rapids to discuss the importance of immigration reform and what it means to the communities and economy of western Michigan.
The answer: A lot.
The meeting took place at the Goei Center, the central hub of one of the Midwest’s largest privately owned floral businesses. Owner Bing Goei immigrated to the U.S. from Indonesia, settled in Grand Rapids and built a business that now does more than $5 million in sales every year.
While we wait on the House of Representatives to take up immigration reform that can’t come too soon, we have strong story to tell in Grand Rapids: Our new Americans are a crucial part of our community and its economic vitality.
These new Americans buy homes, revitalize neighborhoods, open businesses and create jobs, all benefiting the broader community. Side by side, we work together for the American dream.
These contributions are not solely economic. We pray together at our places of worship, and our children learn together in our schools.
And as our state moves forward from the loss of a million jobs and a severe dip in prosperity between 2000 and 2010, we recognize our immigrant population as a source of strength.
Leaders such as Gov. Rick Snyder have taken notice. “Immigration and economic development — they go hand in hand,” Snyder said in March. “Open the welcome mat.”
Michigan and Grand Rapids leaders are not alone in recognizing that immigrant Americans are essential to our communities and our economy. From the design talent our international furniture companies need to the taqueria stabilizing a disinvested Grand Rapids street, immigrants create jobs and economic growth that help all of us.
Read more:

Crossroads Campaign Solutions