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The Week Ahead: February 18-21

February 19, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

“[With immigration reform,] we have the broadest coalition of support of any legislation I've ever been involved in: big business, small business, evangelicals, [the] Catholic Church, the list goes on and on. It's time for those people to weigh in and bring pressure to bear and say ‘Look, we need to act.’ I have not given up hope that we will act.”

— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), speaking on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Feb. 16


All Eyes Still on Immigration Reform in 2014
Despite reports that prematurely attempt to bury immigration reform for 2014, constituents across the political spectrum continue to support it and stress its urgency. A group of major GOP donors are not keeping their plans to shape the Republican path forward on immigration reform a secret, and members of Congress home for recess this week are finding that reform this year is important to their supporters.

Monday night in Gaffney, S.C., Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney (SC-05) gathered with constituents for what is believed to be the first town hall conducted in Spanish by a South Carolina member of Congress. Mulvaney spoke with attendees about our current immigration system and the prospects for reform in 2014 — and attendees urged him to help move reform forward this year.

Today, notable Michigan faith, business and education leaders met in Zeeland to discuss the economic and moral imperatives for passing reform this Congress, and on Wednesday in Cary, N.C., GOP Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC-02) will meet with local faith, law enforcement and business leaders in-district to talk about passing commonsense immigration reform this year.

New Polling Reinforces Support
A trio of new polls underscore the broad support for immigration reform in 2014. A recent bipartisan poll released by shows that six in ten Americans — including 51 percent of Republicans — support a roadmap to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants presently in the country.

In a Gallup survey released Monday, 44 percent of respondents said it's extremely important for the United States to develop a plan to deal with the large number of undocumented immigrants — outranking tougher border security as the top priority and suggesting support for immigration reform that addresses all parts of our broken system. The Gallup poll reinforces similar findings from a CNN/ORC International poll earlier in February.

While D.C. voices may continue to talk past each other, the message from Americans is unambiguous: 2014 is still the year for commonsense 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: WASHINGTON POST (Will Column): Why Immigration Reform Matters
By George F. Will
February 13, 2014
Distilled to their discouraging essence, Republicans’ reasons for retreating from immigration reform reflect waning confidence in American culture and in the political mission only Republicans can perform — restoring U.S. economic vigor. Without this, the nation will have a dismal future only Democrats can relish: government growing in order to allocate scarce opportunity.
Many Republicans say addressing immigration will distract from a winning focus on Obamacare. But a mature party avoids monomania, and Obamacare’s manifold defects are obvious enough that voters will not require nine more months of reminders.
Many Republicans say immigration policy divides their party. If, however, the party becomes a gaggle of veto groups enforcing unanimities, it will become what completely harmonious parties are: small.
Many Republicans see in immigrants only future Democratic votes. This descent into Democratic-style identity politics is unworthy of Republicans, and unrealistic. U.S. history tells a consistent story — the party identified with prosperity, and hence opportunity, prospers.
Read more:

FOXNEWS.COM: Congress Must Move Forward on Immigration Reform
By Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Mathew Staver
February 14, 2014
The past 10 days have been a roller coaster for evangelical Christians and other conservative Americans who are convinced that our nation’s immigration laws are woefully in need of reform.
On Jan. 30, the House Republican leadership released a set of pragmatic standards for immigration reform rooted in conservative values. Evangelical leaders nationally and locally applauded: The House GOP Standards for Immigration Reform closely mirror the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform endorsed by hundreds of nationally prominent Christian leaders in the past two years.
The principles include a commitment to secure borders and an approach to those immigrants who have violated the law that reconciles a healthy respect for the rule of law and a compassionate approach to people made in God’s image, avoiding the irrational extremes of either amnesty or mass deportation.
Just a week later, though, media reports have suggested that some of those who have in the past been strong proponents of reform consistent with these standards are now arguing—primarily for political, not principled reasons— that House Leadership should under no circumstance seek to tackle immigration reform in 2014.
Read more:
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Mat Staver is chairman of the Liberty Counsel and Dean of the Liberty University Law School.

THE HILL (Williams Column): Republican Leaders Must Keep Tea Party on the Run
By Juan Williams
February 17, 2014
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) are now in position to end the Tea Party’s death grip on the Republican Party’s political future.
Last week, Boehner and McConnell faced down the Tea Party’s threat to cripple the government when they supported raising the nation’s debt ceiling. That move prevented GOP political suicide.
If the nation’s credit rating, stocks and the recovery went down the sewer because of Republicans’ refusal to raise the debt ceiling, the GOP’s chances in the midterm elections would have been severely damaged.
Having successfully defied the Tea Party on the debt ceiling, now it is time for Boehner and McConnell to use that momentum to pass three bills: An extension of unemployment benefits for people suffering long-term joblessness; a minimum wage hike; and, most important of all, immigration reform.
The Tea Party caucus in the House and the Tea Party star in the Senate – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — are never going to love Boehner or McConnell. Both Congressional leaders have tried for years to accommodate Tea Party passions but they can never do enough.
Read more:
Juan Williams is an author and political analyst for Fox News Channel.

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