National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Blog & Updates

The Week Ahead March 31-April 4

April 01, 2014 - Posted by Communications Intern

“We’ve had secure borders with Mexico for the last decade; we don’t have that argument at this point. Now we want people to see the real damage of not doing anything, which is a declining work force, and it means losing production to foreign countries … I can tell you if the Republicans don’t put something forward on immigration, there is going to be a very loud hue and cry from us in agriculture. We are a tremendously important part of the party, and they should not want to lose us.”

— Tom Nassif, President, Western Growers Association, March 30

“Other than physically tackling a member of Congress, which is probably against the law, I’m not sure how much more aggressive we can be. What we cannot do is go on to the House floor and vote for them.”

— Carl Guardino, Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, March 28


Conservative Leaders Issue Powerful Calls for a Vote on Immigration Reform
The need for immigration reform is winning hearts and minds thanks to strong support from faith, law enforcement and business leaders. Across the country, these leaders are speaking louder than before about how they personally experience the impact of a broken immigration system and the need for a vote on immigration reform.

That call will come Tuesday from the Arizona-Mexico border, where the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is hosting a border Mass and press conference Tuesday morning — an event that will be streamed live online and covered on social media.

And on Thursday, local evangelical pastors will join a press call to discuss how our broken immigration system has affected their communities. That same day, evangelical Christians will hold a 24-hour virtual Day of Prayer for Immigrant Families. Evangelical pastors also are looking ahead to an April 29 fly-in to Washington, D.C.

At the same time, business leaders across the labor spectrum are stressing that a vote from Congress is a vote on economic stability — stability that the status quo puts at risk. In California, farmers are “increasingly fed up” with outdated immigration laws — and a growers association says members may hold off on contributions to Republicans.

Not far away, tech leaders in Silicon Valley are stepping up their support for a better immigration process. The urgency will be amplified this week by the rush for “high-skill” visas, which are capped at 65,000. The visas become available Tuesday and likely will run out a mere six days later.

The call is coming from the tech sector in Silicon Valley and the fields of the Central Valley, from Wisconsin farms, Illinois sheriff’s offices and the offices of national evangelical leaders: We need immigration reform that honors our values and provides our communities and our country with stability.

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 (Reed and Moore Op-Ed): Immigration Reform Is a Moral Imperative
By Ralph Reed and Russell Moore
March 30, 2014
Republicans in the House of Representatives—sensing the political winds at their backs heading into the midterm election and distrustful of President Obama’s willingness to enforce the law—have opted to do nothing about immigration. Their strategy is shortsighted.
Reform will require moral courage and leadership, but it is necessary. Because of the federal government’s failure to secure the border, antiquated policies and a patchwork of conflicting regulations, there are now millions of people who have overstayed visas or crossed our borders illegally. The current system is inadequate for the country’s needs, and it is inequitable as well.
Reforms passed in the 1960s focused on entry to the U.S. based on blood relation. Currently, the majority who come to America legally do so on this basis. The law allows little priority based on education or job skills. As a result, Canada, with one-tenth our population, issues about 120,000 permanent and temporary skilled-worker visas annually, nearly twice the number of H1-B visas issued by the U.S. every year.
The immigrant community is brimming with hard-working, entrepreneurial, family-oriented men and women who yearn for freedom and aspire to be Americans in the fullest sense. Others violate our laws, committing crime and living off the system. As Christians and conservatives, we have had to ask ourselves how to move forward.
Read more:

NEW YORK TIMES: California Farmers Short of Labor, and Patience
By Jennifer Medina
March 29, 2014
HURON, Calif. — When Chuck Herrin, who runs a large farm labor contracting company, looks out at the hundreds of workers he hires each year to tend to the countless rows of asparagus, grapes, tomatoes, peaches and plums, he often seethes in frustration.
It is not that he has any trouble with the laborers. It is that he, like many others in agriculture here, is increasingly fed up with immigration laws that he says prevent him from fielding a steady, reliable work force.
“What we have going on now is a farce — a waste of time and money,” said Mr. Herrin, a lifelong Republican who grew up in central California, adding that the country should be considering ways to bring workers in, not keep them out. “We need these people to get our food to market.”
California is home to an estimated 2.5 million illegal immigrants, more than in any other state. Perhaps nowhere else captures the contradictions and complications of immigration policy better than California’s Central Valley, where nearly all farmworkers are immigrants, roughly half of them living here illegally, according to estimates from agricultural economists at the University of California, Davis.
Read more:

CATHOLICS IN ALLIANCE FOR THE COMMON GOOD BLOG (Curran Post): To Build the Trust Law Enforcement Counts On, We Need Immigration Reform
By Mark C. Curran, Jr.
March 26, 2014
Here at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, we have focused on immigration reform as an issue of social justice, which it most certainly is. But, Mark C. Curran, Jr., is the Sheriff of Lake County, Illinois, and in this week’s Common Good Forum, he reminds us that law enforcement groups favor immigration reform on practical grounds too: They need the trust of the community in order to do their work.
Much has been made about the lack of trust that exists between House Republicans and the President. In fact, this broken relationship has been cited as the main reason for a delay in moving forward with broad immigration reform legislation.
But a different kind of trust is exactly why we need reform, and we need Congress to move quickly.
I have dedicated decades of my life to enforcing our laws. As a prosecutor, an instructor of criminal justice, and now as the Sheriff of Lake County, I have come to understand the importance of good law enforcement implementation through many angles. I know very well that trust in the community is a critical component for enforcement. In addition, my religious beliefs have encouraged me to embrace faith, not fear, on issues that involve our fellow human beings.
Read more:

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