National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Blog & Updates

The Week Ahead: June 24-28

June 24, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“To force all those here illegally to leave is neither politically viable nor humanitarian. To offer blanket amnesty to those who broke the immigration laws of our country and their countries of origin is disrespectful of the rule of law. A solution that respects the rule of law, treats undocumented immigrants in the nation compassionately, and provides them a tough, yet achievable, earned pathway to citizenship is necessary.”
— Dr. Russell Moore, newly elected president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in a June 20 letter sent to every Senator.

Showtime in the Senate
By the end of this week, ahead of Congress’ July 4 recess, the Senate is likely to vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill, S. 744.

In a strong bipartisan vote on Monday, Senators voted 67-27 to end debate on a key amendment that centers primarily on tougher border security measures. The “Corker-Hoeven amendment” — named for its negotiators, Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D. — is likely to increase support among Republicans for the final bill.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the bill, as negotiated by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would result in a net gain of $897 billion in the next 20 years. The latest amendment’s requirements for personnel and fencing would mean spending an additional $38 billion on border security, for an eye-popping total of $46 billion. Already our border is as secure as it has ever been.

However, the amendment also would preserve the roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans who lack documentation. And the strong bipartisan support the amendment could earn for the final Senate bill would put enormous pressure on the House of Representatives to follow through with broad, bipartisan immigration reform as well.

The U.S. Senate is on the cusp of voting for historic change. After years of work and months of intense negotiation, S. 744 would create a 21st century immigration system that meets the needs of our nation. A difficult road lies ahead in the House, but that road will include opportunities to improve final immigration legislation.

Evangelical Groups Pray for Reform near Capitol
With the Senate vote approaching, evangelical leaders are holding daily prayer gatherings before the U.S. Capitol, around a mobile billboard bearing the message “Praying for Immigrants. Praying for Congress.” As part of the Pray for Reform campaign, groups will gather to pray for senators to pass strong legislation that reflects the God-given dignity of every human being, protects family unity, respects the rule of law, keeps our borders secure and includes an achievable pathway to earned citizenship.

These gatherings are happening at 10 a.m. every day this week on Peace Circle, near the Senate side of the Capitol. Following these gatherings, the billboard will make its way around Washington.

Different Evangelical Immigration Table organizations are hosting each day. Participating groups include the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Sojourners, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Christian Community Development Association and World Relief.

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: DESERET NEWS: Evangelicals turn up the heat on immigration reform with group prayers
Compiled by Matthew Brown, Deseret News
Sunday, June 23 2013
Evangelical leaders are adding daily group prayers outside the U.S. Capitol to their lobbying efforts for immigration reform.
Beginning Monday, pastors and other leaders will gather at the Peace Circle, near the Senate side of the Capitol, for prayer. Following these gatherings, the billboard bearing the message “Praying for Immigrants. Praying for Congress” will make its way around Washington.
The demonstrations will take place the same week the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a comprehensive immigration bill that would offer U.S. citizenship to millions.
The prayer campaign follows a letter-writing campaign by hundreds of pastors to their senators and representatives from 10 states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
"The letters speak to the urgent need for reform that respects the God-given dignity of every person, protects family unity, respects the rule of law, guarantees secure national borders, ensures fairness to taxpayers and establishes a path toward earned citizenship for those who qualify," stated a press release from the National Immigration Forum.
The prayers, letter writing and advertising are all part of a 92-day "Pray for Reform" campaign organized by the Evangelical Immigration Table, a group of Evangelical churches, leaders, universities and organizations working together to build support for the immigration bill introduced in the Senate by the so-called "Gang of Eight."
Choosing a 92-day time period was no accident.
Read more:

FINANCIAL TIMES: US immigration bill would aid deficit
By Anna Fifield
June 18, 2013
The comprehensive immigration reform plan outlined by the Senate would reduce the US’s federal deficit by a net $175bn over the first decade and by almost $700bn over the second, according to estimates from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
In its “scoring” of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill, the CBO forecast that the reforms would have a broadly positive impact on the economy, with the taxes paid by newly legal citizens far outweighing any benefits they might receive.
The CBO also said there would be other positive effects that it would not yet measure – including increased productivity of labour and capital, and increased wages for workers with different skills.
“The increase in the number of legal residents stemming from the bill would boost direct spending for federal benefit programmes; direct spending for enforcement and other purposes also would rise,” said the report, released on Tuesday. “Under the bill, federal revenues would be higher as well, mostly because of the larger size of the labour force.”
The positive economic impact could help tip the balance on Capitol Hill by making it easier for fiscally minded Republicans to explain to their constituents why they were supporting the bill.
“The Congressional Budget Office’s report confirms what business leaders have been saying all along: commonsense immigration reform is good for the economy,” said Ali Noorani, executive director at the National Immigration Forum. “This is the push Congress needs to move broad reform past the finish line.”
Read more:

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Republican Lawmakers Unveil Border-Security Plan
By Sara Murray
June 20, 2013
Republican lawmakers unveiled a border-security plan Thursday afternoon that could secure broad bipartisan support for immigration legislation, paving the way for it to sail through the Senate.
"This is border security on steroids," said Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), who helped craft the compromise.
The agreement may prove to be the linchpin that provides cover for fence-sitting Republicans to sign on to the sweeping immigration bill in the Senate. The bill provides a path to citizenship for millions currently living in the U.S. illegally, increases border security and creates new visa programs.
"We know that we need a very large number of Republicans and a very large vote. We were not getting that," said Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican member of the group that wrote the bill. The latest compromise "brings on a lot of Republicans," said Mr. McCain, though he declined to estimate how many.
The agreement would double the number of border-control agents to roughly 40,000, require 700 miles of fencing on the southern border to be completed and wrap in a handful of other measures designed to wrangle GOP votes.
Lawmakers effectively killed an amendment Thursday by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, that would have required a stricter border metric. His proposal would have required border-patrol agents to apprehend 90% of illegal immigrants who attempted to cross the border before immigrants living in the U.S. illegally could receive green cards.
Senators voted 54 to 43 in favor of tabling the amendment. Immigration supporters were concerned that such a metric
Read more:

Crossroads Campaign Solutions