Blog & Updates
The Week Ahead - February 11 - 15
February 11, 2013 - Posted by Maurice Belanger
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Mayor Julián Castro
- “If we look at our history, Congress over time has chosen that option, that path to citizenship.”
–San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. He defended the inclusion of a path to citizenship in immigration reform legislation Feb. 6, 2013
Bibles, Badges and Business
The National Immigration Forum is officially announcing the “Bibles, Badges, and Business” network for immigration reform on Monday. This national network of faith, law enforcement and business leaders aims to build momentum for immigration reform. The coalition will organize regular events in districts where members of Congress need support from these key constituencies as well as regular lobby meetings with lawmakers in Washington.
On Wednesday, the Bibles, Badges and Business (BBB) network will team up with the Texas Business Coalition for the “Texas Immigration Summit” in Austin. The event will feature Grover Norquist, Barrett Duke from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business, and the Texas Border Coalition.
Immigration in Congress, SOTU address
The Senate is expected to vote and pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as early as Monday. The bill expands protections for immigrant women by broadening the qualifications for a U Visa, a visa for immigrant survivors of crimes who assist law enforcement. However, unlike a similar reauthorization bill in 2012, the 2013 version does not increase the number of U Visas available each year. In 2012, that increase stalled the bill in the House of Representatives.
On Wednesday, the Senate will hold its first hearing on immigration reform featuring the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, AOL co-founder Steve Case, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Jessica Vaughan from the Center for Immigration Studies. Secretary Napolitano is also testifying on Thursday for a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the impact of sequestration of federal funds on homeland security.
President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday. While we don’t know what the President will say in his address, we expect that he will mention immigration reform and would likely cast its benefits in economic terms. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will deliver the Republican response. Senator Rubio is part of the bipartisan group in the Senate working on immigration reform legislation. He will deliver his response in both English and Spanish.
Monday, February 11
• Noon. A new network, “Bibles, Badges and Businesses for Immigration Reform,” will launch with a press call. Participants include Bill Hammond, President and CEO, Texas Association of Business; Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Mark Shurtleff, Member of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Forum and Republican Former Attorney General of Utah; Guadalupe “Lupe” Treviño, Sheriff, Hidalgo County, Texas; and Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum. Call 1-866-952-1907; Conference ID: REFORM.
• The Senate is likely to vote on S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which includes provisions regarding immigrant survivors.
Tuesday, February 12
• 5 p.m. Pacific time. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) will hold a community viewing party of the State of the Union Address, followed by a “People’s Rebuttal” that will include analysis and testimonies by immigrant families. CHIRLA, 2533 West Third St., Ste. 101, Los Angeles.
• 9 p.m. President Obama is scheduled to give his State of the Union address. Following the speech, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is scheduled to deliver the Republican response in both English and in Spanish.
Wednesday, February 13
• 9:30 a.m. The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a full committee hearing, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” Witnesses include Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Define American founder Jose Antonio Vargas, Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, Revolution LLC Chairman and CEO Steve Case, ICE union president Chris Crane and National Council of La Raza President and CEO Janet Murguía. 216 Hart Senate Office Building.
Thursday, February 14
• 1:30 p.m. During a press call, the National Partnership for New Americans is scheduled to release a study on naturalization fees as a barrier to citizenship among low-income legal permanent residents. Details to follow.
• United We Dream’s “Own the Dream” campaign lists events and workshops related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Find this week’s events here. Local organizations are looking for volunteers for all events; the page includes contact information.
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:http://immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/LegBulletin.pdf
MUST READ: POLITICO: Immigration's new ally: Christian right
by ANNA PALMER
FEB. 6, 2013
The usual suspects pushing immigration reform have a new ally in the fight this time — the religious right.
Christian conservatives, who stayed on the sidelines in 2006 or opposed reform outright, have sprung into action for the cause.
They’re talking to their congregations from the pulpit. They’re urging lawmakers in private meetings to support reform. And they’re even calling for change publicly.
The efforts have dramatically changed the dynamics of the debate, so much so that Republicans anxious to vote yes on a deal might have the political cover to do it.
“I think it is night and day, particularly among social conservatives,” Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed told POLITICO of the support for immigration reform.
Reed’s group released a letter Tuesday that outlines broad goals for reform, like keeping families together, reforming the visa system and securing the border.
High profile leaders are also weighing in. Mathew Staver, vice president of Liberty University, the college started by former TV minister Jerry Falwell, is on board. Focus on the Family, which for years has focused on issues like opposing abortion rights and gay marriage, is supporting immigration reform for the first time in its history — even using its radio broadcast that reaches millions to push its message.
“The issues had been so demagogued for the last five or six years, it was hopeless to get seriously into this,” said Tom Minnery or Focus on the Family. “It seems the time is better. The time has changed…That’s why we’ve become more active.”
Social conservatives are directly targeting GOP offices and trying to show that they can give cover to lawmakers in the South, West and Midwest, who are worried about facing retaliation at the ballot box in 2014.
“Many of the most hostile critics got beat, a fact not lost on the other House members,” said Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, referring to Republicans who have lost their seats since 2006. “I think there’s a bigger coalition in the House for immigration reform than people think.”
WASHINGTON POST (Sargent Blog): Second class citizenship: Not the answer to the GOP’s problems
by GREG SARGENT ON FEBRUARY 7, 2013 AT 3:37 PM FEB. 7, 2013
GOP Rep. Raul Labrador is being closely watched for clues to the House GOP’s leanings in the immigration debate, and today he came out against a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country — and voiced support for second class status instead.
“The people that came here illegally knowingly — I don’t think they should have a path to citizenship,” Labrador said, according to TPM. “If you knowingly violated our law, you violated our sovereignty. I think we should normalize your status but we should not give you a pathway to citizenship.” Labrador added that House Republicans are “not going to be able to vote for” citizenship. This echoes other House Republicans who have derided the pro-citizenship position as “extreme.” John Boehner and Eric Cantor have both declined to endorse it, too.
Obviously it’s hard for House Republicans to embrace citizenship, given the right’s passions about the issue, and hopefully GOP leaders are engaged in an elaborate dance to move Republicans to the point where they can ultimately embrace it. But here’s the question: Isn’t embracing second class legal status the worst possible option? Today’s Quinnipiac poll is the first I’ve seen that polls the range of immigration policy options with the right degree of nuance:
Which comes closest to your view about illegal immigrants who are currently living in the United States? A) They should be allowed to stay in the United States and to eventually apply for US citizenship. B) They should be allowed to remain in the United States, but not be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship. C) They should be required to leave the U.S.
Stay/not citizen: 10
Not stay: 30
WASHINGTON TIMES (Mat Staver Op-Ed): A Christian approach to immigration reform
by MATHEW STAVER FEB. 5, 2013
Americans are ready for just immigration reform that keeps our borders secure, respects the rule of law and creates a pathway to earned legal status for our hardworking neighbors who lack documentation. This earned legal status should include temporary worker visas and citizenship.
As an evangelical leader, I applaud leaders in Congress for recognizing that a better immigration process is urgent. Republicans in particular are showing leadership by prioritizing the debate.
As the House of Representatives holds a hearing Tuesday to take up the challenge of creating a better immigration process, evangelical Christians across the country are participating in their own challenge: to reflect on what the Bible has to say about how we treat our immigrant neighbors.
My own contemplation has led me to conclude that we must unite behind an immigration process that is fair, that respects every human being’s God-given dignity, that protects the unity of our families and that preserves our standing as the world’s standard-bearer for freedom.
As members of the Evangelical Immigration Table affirmed in June, just immigration reform will strengthen our economy and our communities. Policy that reflects our shared principles — accountability, fairness, dignity and hard work — will strengthen us.
The principles that a bipartisan group of Senate leaders announced last week represent a solid start. Now is the time for our legislators to move beyond partisan rancor and come to consensus that honors our heritage.
Immigrants always have contributed to our country. Both our history and our legacy call on us to enable American immigrants to come out of the shadows and participate fully as American taxpayers, voters, workers and leaders.
Establishing a challenging but achievable path to citizenship is key. There are only three options for addressing undocumented immigrants: deportation, amnesty and a middle, more reasonable alternative that provides an opportunity for earned legal status. Mass deportation would be impossible and morally wrong. Amnesty would flout the law. Let me be clear: I oppose amnesty. What I do support is providing an opportunity for earned legal status that allows people to come out of the shadows and participate in the American dream.