Blog & Updates
The Week Ahead June 2-6
June 02, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Pastors need an answer for undocumented congregants who otherwise obey the law and are seeking a way to get right with the law. Congress must provide that answer. Until then, there is nothing to point them toward, and the whole body continues to suffer.”
— Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, in a May 29 Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed
New Use of Force Policy for Customs and Border Protection
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an updated Use of Force Policy for Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The announcement follows 28 deaths related to CBP officers’ use of force since 2010.
The new policy appears to address many recommendations the nonprofit, third-party Police Executive Research Forum made in a report DHS also released Friday. For example, all incidents that involve the use of force must be reported for review. Border patrol officers are not to shoot at moving vehicles unless they face an imminent threat of serious injury or death. Likewise, they are not to shoot in response to rock throwers unless they are danger of death or serious injury.
These changes are a significant step toward accountability, transparency and oversight at our nation’s borders — and improved security for the millions of people who live along them.
House Appropriations Bill Would Help Immigration Courts
Last week, the House of Representatives approved the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015. The bill includes funding for the Department of Justice, which oversees the distribution of funds for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
One encouraging aspect of the bill is an 8 percent increase in funding for the EOIR, which includes immigration courts and judges. EOIR funding has lagged behind increased immigration enforcement, resulting in a backlog of 366,000 cases and an average wait time of more than 570 days. Increased funding likely would help alleviate this backlog.
What Do Ali Noorani and Kenny G Have in Common?
This week marks the beginning of the first annual Immigrant Heritage Month. The campaign, an initiative of Welcome.us, seeks to emphasize the power of immigrants to our nation’s history and future, and to call for stories that help celebrate our unique immigrant heritage as a country.
(Included among the ranks of Welcome.us honorary board members are Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, and musician Kenny G.)
Corporations and organizations across the country are joining the effort to highlight the importance of immigration and citizenship to our nation’s communities and economy. Partners include the Forum, its Bethlehem Project initiative and Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform campaign, and the New Americans Campaign (NAC).
In addition to local events throughout the month, supporters can connect on Twitter and Facebook.
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: RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH (Staver Op-Ed): Welcome the stranger
By Mathew Staver
May 29, 2014
In the past year the evangelical community has shown the depth of its support for Congress to address the components of our broken immigration system. The most recent example was April 29, when more than 250 pastors from all over the country gathered in Washington, D.C., for a prayer service and an afternoon of meetings with members of Congress.
These pastors, including several from Virginia, came from rural and urban areas, from large churches and small congregations, from the Southern Baptist Convention, The Wesleyan Church, the Christian Reformed Church and many other denominations and nondenominational evangelical churches, all to deliver one message to Congress: Our churches and communities are hurting and need immigration reform. Now is the time to act. “Immigration reform offers the finest opportunity we in the United States have had to put politics aside and do the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time,” Dr. Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said at the event. “For all the criticism heaped on the USA, we remain the most generous and kind country in the world. With no hint at amnesty, with determination to have a republic ruled by law, let us wrap our arms around all the well-meaning people who have sought the umbrella of America’s protection and opportunity.”
Read more: http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/their-opinion/columnists-blogs/guest-columnists/staver-welcome-the-stranger/article_9aacc4c3-0ee3-52ff-926d-815ff0e6054c.html
THE HILL (Congress Blog; Wenski Post): Catholic clergy to House: Immigration reform now
By Archbishop Thomas Wenski
May 29, 2014
As the Archbishop of Miami, a region with more than one million immigrants who came to America seeking a better life, I was pleased and hopeful when the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
But that was almost a full year ago. Ever since then, the leadership of the House of Representatives has offered a litany of delays and excuses for inaction and obstruction. These political whimpers stand in contrast to the cries of torn-apart immigrant families that echo in parishes across the country. Parents of American children are deported. Eleven million of our neighbors live in constant fear of losing their loved ones, their jobs, their place in a country that has become home.
A nation of immigrants and a beacon of democracy can surely do better. Now is the time for the House to pass common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform that the American people support and the American economy needs.
This issue isn’t just about immigrant communities, it’s about our values and identity as a nation. My father immigrated from Poland at a time when America had not only freedom and opportunity that the world admired, but also a more functional immigration system for people like him who wanted to become American. Immigrants faced a welcoming statue, not a forbidding wall. Restoring that opportunity isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a common-sense way to maintain our global leadership. The immigrant communities I have served as a priest and a bishop deserve the same shot my dad had, and we will all benefit if Congress builds a road to citizenship for them.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/207485-catholic-clergy-to-house-immigration-reform-now
Wenski is archbishop of Miami and a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration.
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER (Editorial): Speaker Boehner shouldn't delay immigration reform any longer
May 29, 2014
House Speaker John Boehner has once again blamed mistrust of President Barack Obama for the Republicans' unwillingness to move ahead on immigration reform.
But it's a nonequivalent comparison designed to confuse and delay.
Immigration reform has the support of liberals and conservatives from a wide range of faiths and economic persuasions. It is one area where a well-meaning, willing-to-compromise Congress can pass legislation amenable to both parties.
And Boehner knows it. In April, he reportedly mocked members of his own party for not having the fortitude to tackle immigration reform. Boehner later said he was only teasing them.
Clearly, he needs to start knocking some heads -- if he's a man of his word and truly wants to improve our immigration laws.
When news anchor Jorge Ramos of the Spanish-speaking Univision network pointedly asked Boehner in late May why he was blocking immigration legislation in the House, a dismissive Boehner responded, "Me? Blocking?"
Boehner then brought up Obama and argued that his administration's unilateral changes to the Affordable Care Act have Republicans fearful that the president would take similar action with an immigration law not quite to his liking.
But immigration reform is not Obamacare.
Read more: http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/05/speaker_boehner_shouldnt_delay.html