National Immigration Forum

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The Week Ahead June 9-13

June 09, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

“Immigration is a difficult and complex social and economic issue with equally difficult and complex solutions. Immigrants and immigration also are part of our national fabric. As the debate on immigration continues, it is my earnest hope that House Republican leaders, who also know the truth, will finally allow broad immigration reform to get a House vote.”

— Paul Bridges, Former Mayor of Uvalda, Ga., in a June 3 National Journal op-ed following his being honored in May with a Profile in Courage Award


Veterans for Immigration Reform Comes to Washington
On Thursday, a group of military veterans will bring their support for immigration reform to Washington, D.C., and the halls of Congress. The day will begin with a 10 a.m. panel discussion at the National Press Club (see details below).

Throughout our history, the military has reflected the fact that we are a nation of immigrants.
But even after risking their lives for our country, military veterans are not guaranteed fair treatment under our immigration laws.

Following initial events this spring in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, South Carolina and Texas, Veterans for Immigration Reform will deliver the message that Congress must act to replace our broken immigration system and ensure that we fully honor immigrants who have fought under our flag.

Thursday’s event will include a panel discussion at the National Press Club, the release of a white paper on veterans in the military, and meetings on Capitol Hill.

House to Consider Homeland Security Appropriations
On Wednesday, the full House Committee on Appropriations will mark up a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the next fiscal year. A draft of the bill posted last week.

The markup will address many immigration-related areas for which DHS is responsible, from border protection and interior enforcement to naturalization and immigrant integration.

DHS appropriations partially fund the unaccompanied alien children program, which provides for the initial care of migrant children and their transfer to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The markup is likely to address the recent increase in unaccompanied migrant children.

Unlike the president’s proposed budget, the draft bill would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to continue to maintain 34,000 detention beds. The president had proposed a decrease to 30,539 beds, which would save an estimated $183.1 million. The draft bill also includes a larger funding increase for Customs and Border Protection: $219.6 million over this year’s level, vs. $121.3 million in the president’s budget.

Last but not least, the draft bill includes no funding for the Citizenship Integration Program, a key program that helps eligible legal immigrants become citizens. The president had proposed an increase to $10 million in appropriated funds.

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: WALL STREET JOURNAL: Immigration's Primary Effect Muted
By Laura Meckler
June 8, 2014
Sen. Lindsey Graham appeared to put himself in political jeopardy when he wrote and championed an overhaul of immigration laws, but he is poised to lap the field in Tuesday's Republican primary in South Carolina. GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who also backed the bill, is in a strong position ahead of his primary this August.
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R., N.C.) easily survived a primary challenge after backing liberalized laws. And Tim Donnelly, a leader in the movement to stop illegal immigration, lost to another Republican this month in California's open primary for governor.
Opposition to an immigration-law overhaul remains high within the Republican Party, but primary season is showing that support isn't necessarily a career-ending move, nor is opposition a clear path to the nomination. That could factor into the decision by House GOP leaders on whether to move broad immigration legislation this year.
Read more:

WASHINGTON POST (Rubin Post): GOP’s immigration reform fantasy
By Jennifer Rubin
June 3, 2014
Certainly the president’s trail of foreign policy blunders and domestic policy missteps give Republicans an excuse to simply stick to a negative message. When Democrats decry the latest episode in the war on coal and coal workers and when consternation on both sides of the aisle rises about the decision to set free five hardened terrorist leaders, it is easy for Republicans to sit back, throw darts at the Democrats and watch the Democratic base sink into a funk. But temptation should be resisted in this case.
There is still a need for an Obamacare alternative. And then there is immigration reform. Republican opponents of immigration reform say they don’t want to talk about it. But here’s the thing: “If Republicans do nothing, Obama will do something on deportation in August, Republicans will scream about executive overreach and Democrats will paint Republicans as simply intolerant and anti-immigrant.” That is the take of conservative economist and immigration reform proponent Doug Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum. He concludes, “In short, they WILL talk about immigration this year, whether they like it or not. It would be way better to do it on their terms by passing something they favor.” That logic doesn’t tempt the hardline immigration reform proponents, but it should give Republicans in the mainstream of their party reason to consider their next moves.
Read more:

HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Obama calls spike in children crossing border 'urgent' situation
By Susan Carroll
June 2, 2014
President Barack Obama on Monday called the spike in children and teenagers caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone in recent months an "urgent humanitarian situation," bringing in FEMA to coordinate federal efforts to provide their housing, transportation and medical care.
In a presidential memorandum, Obama called for a coordinated, multi-agency effort to address the influx of unaccompanied children entering the country illegally from Central and South America. Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate was tapped to spearhead coordination of the efforts, aimed in part at easing overcrowding in Border Patrol stations in South Texas.
"The influx of unaccompanied alien children across the southwest border of the United States has resulted in an urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated federal response," Obama said in a presidential memorandum.
Read more:

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