National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead July 14-18

July 14, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

“The situation at the southern border is frightening indeed, for multiple reasons. Border security is important for the physical safety of any nation, and the care of those fleeing danger is important for the moral integrity of any people. The gospel doesn’t fill in for us on the details on how we can simultaneously balance border security and respect for human life in this case. But the gospel does tell us that our instinct ought to be one of compassion toward those in need, not disgust or anger.”

— Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a July 13 blog post


Humanitarian Crisis at Border Underscores Effects of Broken System

As the humanitarian crisis surrounding undocumented child immigrants at the border continues, two policy issues are driving the debate in Washington: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) and the administration’s $3.7 billion supplemental budget request.

Currently, there are worrisome signals that TVPRA protections, which were signed into law in 2008 by President Bush with near unanimous support from Congress, might be modified so that the removal of unaccompanied minors from noncontiguous countries could be expedited.

That would be a step backward in ensuring humane treatment of these distressed and unaccompanied minors, as well as for protections against human trafficking that TVPRA established.

Rather than roll back a law designed to protect children from trafficking, we need cost-effective solutions with a history of bipartisan support, including increased numbers of immigration judges and effective alternatives to detention such as ankle bracelets.

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:NEW YORK TIMES (Adelson, Buffet and Gates Op-Ed): Break the Immigration Impasse
By Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
July 10, 2014

AMERICAN citizens are paying 535 people to take care of the legislative needs of the country. We are getting shortchanged. Here’s an example: On June 10, an incumbent congressman in Virginia lost a primary election in which his opponent garnered only 36,105 votes. Immediately, many Washington legislators threw up their hands and declared that this one event would produce paralysis in the United States Congress for at least five months. In particular, they are telling us that immigration reform — long overdue — is now hopeless.
Americans deserve better than this.
The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill. But we could without doubt come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us. We hope that fact holds a lesson: You don’t have to agree on everything in order to cooperate on matters about which you are reasonably close to agreement. It’s time that this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington.
Most Americans believe that our country has a clear and present interest in enacting immigration legislation that is both humane to immigrants living here and a contribution to the well-being of our citizens. Reaching these goals is possible. Our present policy, however, fails badly on both counts.

Read more:

WASHINGTON POST (Dionne Column): Bordering on heartless
By E.J. Dionne, Jr.
July 13, 2014

Glenn Beck says he has come under fierce attack from some of his fellow conservatives for a grave transgression.
His crime? He announced plans to bring food, water, teddy bears and soccer balls to at least some of the tens of thousands of Central American children who have crossed the border into the United States.
“Through no fault of their own, they are caught in political crossfire,” Beck said. “Anyone, left or right, seeking political gain at the expense of these desperate, vulnerable, poor and suffering people are reprehensible.”
Beck, not averse to a certain grandiosity, let us know that “I’ve never taken a position more deadly to my career than this.” But assume he’s right — and he may well be. It’s one more sign of how the crisis at our border has brought out the very worst in our political system and a degree of plain nastiness that we should not be proud of as a nation.

Read more:

WASHINGTON TIMES (Ziglar Op-Ed): Let’s not abandon families that seek refuge
By James W. Ziglar
July 11, 2014

On Tuesday, President Obama sent a request to Congress for emergency supplemental appropriations to address the increased flow of families and unaccompanied children crossing our border illegally. The administration also indicated that it will separately work with Congress to relax the legal protections for unaccompanied children in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and it previously announced plans to hold families with children in immigration detention.
Many of these children and families are fleeing horrific conditions in Central America’s Northern Triangle: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. In these countries, violence, persecution and human trafficking are pervasive. Honduras actually has the world’s highest murder rate. Not surprisingly, the U.N. Refugee Agency found that 58 percent of the unaccompanied children are asylum seekers.
How we treat those who request the protection of the United States should be consistent with our country’s ideals and laws. Unfortunately, the administration’s response is falling short.

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