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The Week Ahead: June 17-21

June 17, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“If we don’t get this done now, in 10 years we are going to have problems that are twice as big as the problems we have now. If you want a solution, this is the process. My great grandfather came here from Ireland as a teenager fleeing the potato famine. He came here to work. That is so essential about America. People didn’t come here because they were going to be given prosperity; they came here to work and earn it.” — Haley Barbour, Former Governor of Mississippi, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Policy Institute Immigration Task Force and Founding Partner of BGR Group, speaking at Bibles, Badges and Business to DC, June 12

Both Houses of Congress Focus on Immigration
Last week, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 84-15 vote, the Senate moved to a full floor debate on S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. On Tuesday, senators will return to their debate over amendments to the bill, with a flurry of votes on amendments likely this week.

Already much discussed are possible border security–related amendments such as one from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would tie the fates of millions of aspiring Americans to extremely stringent border-enforcement measures — possibly delaying or denying the roadmap to citizenship. In reality, U.S. borders are as secure as they have ever been. The existing Senate language continues to prioritize border security and provides for a road to citizenship — a necessary balance for reform to be effective.

Also likely this week is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “score” for the Senate bill — a report on whether it would increase or decrease the national debt. A “positive” score, meaning the bill would decrease the debt, is likely. The CBO score may affect what amendments are introduced.

Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee is taking up a bill that would essentially allow states and localities to take the reins of enforcing federal immigration laws. H.R. 2278, the “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act,” is slated for markup Tuesday morning. The bill would empower county and local law enforcement to enforce immigration law, similar to Arizona’s S.B. 1070, parts of which the Supreme Court struck down a year ago. \

Local Evangelical Pastors to Send Letters Supporting Reform
This week, local evangelical leaders from states including Florida, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Illinois and Wisconsin are sending letters to their members of Congress in support of broad immigration reform. The letters call for bipartisan reform based on biblical principles and note that the Senate bill does align with these principles.

The letters come more than a month into the Evangelical Immigration Table’s “Pray for Reform” campaign, in which more than 6,000 prayer partners have participated. Prayer partners have sent more than 800 letters to members of Congress. The campaign corresponds with the Table’s call for immigration reform to pass both houses of Congress by August.

Local pastors who have sent letters will be on a press call Thursday to discuss their efforts. The call also will preview a week of prayer — and a mobile billboard effort — to take place in Washington, D.C., next week as the debate in the Senate comes to a head.

CALENDAR:Please visit our Events page to find this week's immigration-related events.

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


THE HILL: Crunch time for lobbyists on immigration

By Kevin Bogardus
June 13, 2013
Washington’s lobbying powers are bearing down on the Senate in an attempt to push immigration reform over the finish line.
Business lobbyists, labor leaders and activists of all stripes are swarming Capitol Hill to ensure that senators don’t turn back from the biggest overhaul of the nation’s immigration system in decades.
“Starting today, it’s real,” said Ali Noorani, executive director for the National Immigration Forum. “We have a comprehensive immigration bill going through the amendment process.”
The bill cleared the first hurdle on Tuesday when senators voted overwhelmingly to open debate. But the stiffest tests are yet to come, as Republicans push for changes on border security that Democrats say could sink the bill.
Many advocates are focused on securing enough Republican support to create a filibuster-proof majority, and they are turning up the pressure on senators with a barrage of events and advertising.
“At this point in time, it’s all about getting to 60 votes,” Noorani said.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight who helped draft the immigration bill, told law enforcement officials, church leaders and business executives on Wednesday that he would need their help to move the bill through a gauntlet of amendments.
“We still have a lot of work to do. They are five Republicans committed to this bill — that’s it,” Schumer said.
Read more:

FOXNEWS.COM: Voters want immigration reform
By Dana Blanton
June 13, 2013
Voters want Congress to pass an immigration bill this year, and most support the main provisions in the legislation being considered on Capitol Hill.
After a vote on Tuesday, the Senate will now officially begin debate on an immigration reform bill. The legislation would strengthen border security and create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in the country.
A Fox News poll released Thursday finds that most voters generally favor those provisions.
The new poll shows 81 percent of voters want to strengthen border security and stop additional illegal entry into the country.
In addition, 74 percent favor finding a way for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country to remain -- and eventually become citizens -- if they meet certain requirements, such as paying back taxes, learning English and passing a background check.
Republicans (90 percent), people over the age of 65 (87 percent) and whites (83 percent) are among the groups most likely to favor additional border security.
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