National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Blog & Updates

The Week Ahead March 17-21

March 17, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

“This party is going to become a fossil if we don’t embrace immigration reform and show the diverse people of our country that the Republican Party is open to them, and we have proactive, constructive solutions, rather than rolling up the carpet behind us.”

— Francis Rooney, GOP donor, March 13


Deepening Field to Keep Attention on Congress This Spring
As the conversation around deportations intensifies in Washington, the fact remains that for real, long-term solutions, Congress must address immigration reform this year.

And a deepening network of faith, law enforcement and business leaders across is pushing for commonsense reform. Since January 2013, Bibles, Badges and Business leaders have organized nearly 400 events, generated thousands of news stories, held almost 500 meetings with members and their offices, and engaged more than 5,000 new conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders.

Thanks to local efforts during this first quarter of 2014, these growing networks are preparing to keep the pressure on their representatives during the key months ahead. Local leaders recognize that broad reform will offer long-term stabilizing solutions for our communities, our families and our economy — a good policy opportunity for the country and a good political opportunity for leading conservatives.

Bethlehem Project Launches in Silicon Valley; Sessions Planned in D.C.
At a press conference in San Jose today, business leaders announced that permanent resident employees at Technology Credit Union, ABM, Nokia and DTZ will start receiving free citizenship assistance from their employers this month. The effort formally launches the Bethlehem Project in San Jose.

Through the Bethlehem Project, which now comprises more than 50 businesses in five cities, employers assist eligible immigrant employees with the citizenship process so they become full participants in the workplace, community and local economy. The program also comes at no cost to businesses, which partner with local service providers and the National Immigration Forum.

In addition, Bethlehem Project sessions will take place later this week at the Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt hotels in Washington, D.C. — including the official launch of the program at the Grand Hyatt. Other cities where the program has launched include Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego.

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: SACRAMENTO BEE (Nassif and Smith Op-Ed): Immigration reform a necessary strategy for U.S. economy
By Tom Nassif and Brad Smith
March 16, 2014
The United States was founded as a land of opportunity. From the earliest days, our nation has been enriched by people who arrived from across the globe, worked hard and drove progress as they helped establish our nation as the world’s economic leader.
This is no less true today. From across the globe, we continue to receive hundreds of thousands of visa applications every year as people strive to come here to live, work and take part in the American dream. And we are fortunate, for the strength of the U.S. economy rests on our ability to continue to attract the best talent from across the world.
Perhaps no other industries are in more need of talented workers from abroad than the ones we represent: agriculture and technology. And that’s why we’ve joined forces to try to make immigration reform a reality.
Farmworkers may not need diplomas or advanced degrees to get our harvests in on time, but their contributions to the workforce are essential. Farms that grow and distribute labor-intensive crops like fresh vegetables, fruits and dairy products cannot exist without them. Machines have yet to be invented to do the physical work of picking strawberries, tree fruit, or other delicate fruits or vegetables. Strolling the aisles of supermarket produce sections and sitting down to nutritious meals are merely end products of the agricultural workers whose work made those meals possible.
Read more:
Tom Nassif is president and CEO Western Growers. Brad Smith is Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Free help for Silicon Valley green card holders
By Joe Garofoli
March 17, 2014
Immigration reform may be stalled in Washington, but on Monday a handful of Silicon Valley companies announce they will be part of a program to help their green-card-holding employees with their citizenship issues.
Dubbed “The Bethlehem Project,” the year-old program aims to help folks with all of the nitty-gritty stuff it takes to become a citizen. What’s new is that the project will provide the funding to have those services located on-site at the green card holder’s company. The project will connect a local service provider, say for legal assistance, with a company that agrees to be part of the program. The project will fund the cost of those services.
“It’s expensive and takes time to get a lawyer, and to find out about citizenship classes,” said Mario Moreno, a spokesman for the National Immigration Forum, which is coordinating the effort.
The pilot project is already up and running in four cities — Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami and Washington, D.C. — and has helped about 1,500 people get their citizenship. However, only a handful of companies with offices in the Valley, including Nokia and DTZ, have signed up so far.
Part of the early reluctance may be that some larger Valley employers aren’t used to working with nonprofits, said the National Immigration Forum’s Jennie Murray.
“They may be used to nonprofits coming to them and asking for something,” said Murray, the National Immigration Forum’s director of integration programs in Washington, D.C. She points out this program provides the services free of charge to green-card holders and has no cost to the companies.
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