National Immigration Forum

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The Week Ahead: March 3-7

March 04, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

“There is more at stake in this debate than the next election. The outcome will set the tone for the rest of the century. Either we can choose to turn away from our heritage and our track record of integrating immigrants, or we can embrace it and use it to our advantage.”

— Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami in a Feb. 26 press call announcing a joint letter to Congress from national evangelical and Catholic leaders


President to Release His Budget
As President Obama prepares to release his budget this week, the economic imperatives for immigration reform are clear.

Last year, the Congressional Budget Office found that broad immigration reform would save the country nearly $1 trillion over 20 years. Although the finding applies to the bill the Senate passed, the bottom line is that reform will be good for our bottom line.

Business leaders and fiscal conservatives across the country continue to support action from the House of Representatives because a new immigration process — one that addresses all aspects of our broken system — will be good for American business, our international competitiveness and our economy as a whole.

Republican House Leadership Faces Choice on Immigration
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) has scheduled a markup of a bill related to immigration on Wednesday — but it will not touch on broad reform.

H.R. 3732, introduced by GOP Congresswoman Diane Black (TN-06), would defund the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Public Advocate position.
The bill could become the fifth related to immigration to pass through the House Judiciary Committee this Congress. However, even as Chairman Goodlatte and other Republican leaders have acknowledged that our immigration system is broken, none of the bills moves toward broad immigration reform that addresses undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

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: Evangelical, Catholic Leaders Pressure GOP on Immigration
By Laura Meckler
February 26, 2014
WASHINGTON—Religious leaders who favor an overhaul of immigration laws are stepping up their pressure on House Republicans, aiming to move the stalled legislation and show that the GOP could pay a political penalty for inaction.
This weekend, Hispanic evangelical pastors will preach a “call to action,” asking churchgoers to call members of Congress to demand passage of a broad immigration bill.
The program is being organized by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which encouraged its 34,200 member churches, representing 16 million members, to participate. It is unclear how many will do so.
On Wednesday, nearly a dozen Catholic bishops and archbishops representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are sending a letter to House members, urging them to move immigration legislation. The letter is also signed by evangelical leaders.
The Senate passed a sweeping immigration bill last summer but the issue had been stuck in the House ever since.
“The frustration—it is no longer simmering, but it’s boiling over,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who is meeting next week with GOP congressional leaders. “The consequences are both moral and political.”
In their letter to House members, the religious leaders wrote: “Common-sense fixes to our immigration policies are long overdue.”
On Tuesday, a similar letter was sent to lawmakers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more than 600 business associations and companies.
Read more:

CREATORS SYNDICATE (Chavez Op-Ed): New conservative debate on immigration is a good sign
By Linda Chavez
March 3, 2014
A new debate has arisen among prominent conservatives over whether passing an immigration overhaul would be good or bad for Americans, with syndicated columnist George Will weighing in on the pro-reform side and talk-show host Laura Ingraham arguing against. This is a good thing. Until now, few prominent conservatives have been willing to venture into the pro-immigration-reform camp, which meant that the arguments advanced in favor of reform tended to be dismissed by grassroots conservatives. Now maybe the actual arguments will get proper attention.
Three issues are central to the debate: border security, assimilation and the economic effects of immigration. Those on the right who oppose reform focus especially on the first two. But the facts don’t bear out conservative hand-wringing on either one.
The border has never been so secure. The flow of illegal immigration into this country is at a 40-year low, and deportation rates are higher than they have been at any time in our history. Conservatives can — and should — claim some credit for this. We now spend more on securing our borders than we do on all other federal law-enforcement efforts combined. And whatever else President Barack Obama has failed to do, he has deported more illegal immigrants than any president before him: 2 million since he took office.
Recently, in his column, Will made the case that conservatives may be underestimating the assimilative power of the American experience. In response, Ingraham argued that “20.8 percent of Americans don’t speak English at home,” noting that the percentage is up about 3 points since 2000. But her data don’t actually make the case that present-day immigrants, mostly Hispanics, are assimilating at slower rates than previous groups, as she apparently believes.
Read more:
Linda Chavez writes for Creators Syndicate.

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