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The Week Ahead: February 25 – March 1

February 25, 2013 - Posted by Katherine Vargas

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Rep. Eric Cantor

“I applaud the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO for coming together to find common ground in an effort to reform our broken immigration system. Their goal of protecting American workers and ensuring we have the workforce we need to grow the economy and remain globally competitive is one I share.”
—House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) reacting to the Chamber and AFL-CIO’s join statement for immigration reform. Feb. 21, 2013


SUMMARY

Senators to Meet with President Obama

Sen. McCain and other senators working on bipartisan immigration reform will meet with President Obama on Tuesday to discuss legislation. This is President Obama’s most direct involvement on the Senate negotiations as he has kept his distance to allow the bipartisan process to move forward.
Sen. McCain said he was “guardedly optimistic” that a deal could be reached by the end of March. Tuesday’s meeting with President Obama signals negotiations remain on track for a bipartisan bill.

Senate and House committees continue to move forward with hearings about immigration policy related to reform. This week, the House will host three hearings on immigration including two hearings in the House Judiciary subcommittee on E-Verify and the agricultural H-2A visa system and a third hearing in the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border security.

Virtual March for Immigration Reform
A coalition of business leaders coordinated by New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy is launching a “virtual march” on Washington in April to push for “innovation-focused immigration reform”. The goal of the “March for Innovation” is to harness the digital activism that last year derailed antipiracy legislation to push for better immigration policies for entrepreneurs and skilled workers in the technical fields. The March enjoys support from AOL co-founder Steve Case, venture capitalist Fred Wilson and Kevin Ryan, founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe among others.

For more information about the virtual march, please visit: http://www.marchforinnovation.com/

CALENDAR: Please visit our Events page.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration: http://immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ: POLITICO: Scott Walker supports path to citizenship
By KEVIN CIRILLI | 2/22/13 4:24 PM EST
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Friday that he supports a pathway to citizenship to illegal immigrants but said that people who are waiting in line should have “first preference.”
“You’ve got to find a way to say that people who are in line right now have first preference,” the Republican governor said at POLITICO’s third annual State Solutions Conference in Washington.
And while Republicans — including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — have recently been outspoken about the need for immigration reform, Walker said that the issue is the country needs to deal with and not just Republicans.
Walker said that in addition to not having enough visas for immigrants is that the system in general is broken.
“We just have a broken system. And to me, if somebody wants to come in and live the American dream and work hard … we should have a system that works and let’s people in,” Walker told POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin at the event.
He added: “The vast majority of people want to come here for the right reasons. They want to live the American dream.”
Walker dodged questions about whether he’s interested in running for president in 2016 but sized up both the Democratic and Republican field.
First up, former GOP Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“I think it would have a major impact just because he’s a great performer. And I mean that in the best of sense,” Walker said. “You look at his two terms of governor of obviously a tremendously large and significant state — and he turned things around in terms of the economy… He’s got a great record of success.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/scott-walker-supports-path-to-citizenship-87960.html

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Conservative evangelical Christians sign on for immigration overhaul pitch
By WAYNE SLATER
Senior Political Writer
Published: 20 February 2013 11:12 PM
AUSTIN — After years of silence and even hostility to modifying immigration laws, conservative evangelical Christians have become unlikely allies in pressing for a path to citizenship for those here illegally because, they say, the Bible told them so.
A coalition of religious leaders in Texas and elsewhere, many with strong credentials as social conservatives, is engaging congregations in a coordinated call for Congress and the White House to deal with 11 million illegal immigrants.
“Circumstances culturally and politically have thrown evangelicals back on their biblical authority to ask, ‘What does the Bible really say about this?’” said George Mason, senior pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. “There may be lots of political positions that differ on how we accomplish it, but they want to be on the side of God in their minds.”
While moderate and liberal religious groups have long been a part of the immigration debate, the increasingly active involvement of conservative evangelicals marks what Mason called “a sea change” by an important group that could help move Washington toward political consensus.
“I can assure you our folks are strongly conservative — an overwhelming majority vote Republican and conservative in every way, socially and politically,” said David Fleming, pastor of Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston. “But this is an issue that transcends that category.”
“I’ve had people say to me and write me, ‘You’re going to get fired because you’re out of step with your people,’” said Fleming. “Look, I pastor these people. I know their hearts. And if you can show them from the Scriptures that we’re to be both just and compassionate and, practically speaking, must solve the problem, they’ll say of course we do.”
White evangelical Protestants have been among the least supportive religious groups on a comprehensive immigration approach. A Pew Research poll conducted six years ago found a majority of white evangelicals believe immigration to be a threat to American culture and a burden on the economy.
But a recent survey found considerable evangelical support for keeping families together and following the biblical injunction to welcome the stranger — two themes in a campaign by a national network of diverse religious leaders, the Evangelical Immigration Table.
Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20130220-conservative-evangelical-christians-sign-on-for-immigration-overhaul-pitch.ece

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