National Immigration Forum

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The Week Ahead: May 13-17

May 14, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“I am convinced we stand on the edge of the Jordan called immigration reform. On the other side lies the promised land of integration, secure borders and healthy communities. What will it take for us as a nation to get there? Two words: prophetic courage.”
—Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, during a press call May 8 announcing the Evangelical Immigration Table’s Pray for Reform campaign

Markup of Immigration Reform Bill Continues This Week
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began markup of the “Gang of Eight” bill — the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744. The committee considered more than 30 amendments to Title I of the bill, which focuses on border security.

This week the committee will continue the debate with markup sessions Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday the focus will be Title IV, Reforms to Nonimmigrant Visa Programs.

As the debate in Congress moves forward, leaders across the political spectrum, including the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Network, are encouraging continued rational dialogue that ends with the passage broad, bipartisan reform. On Tuesday, amid Police Week, law enforcement leaders will hold a press call in support of broad reform and will meet to discuss immigration reform with administration officials at the White House.

Bethlehem Project Helps Eligible Immigrants Pursue Citizenship
The Bethlehem Project is a program in which businesses help eligible immigrant employees navigate the citizenship process. Following a successful launch in Miami in April that generated additional interest there, the Bethlehem Project takes off in Los Angeles on Tuesday with a citizenship workshop at American Apparel.

Through partnerships with local businesses and immigrant service organizations, the Bethlehem Project assists eligible immigrant employees with the citizenship process right on the worksite. The result for business is employees who become more valuable workers and full participants in the workplace, community, and economy.

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 (Stassel Column): Conservatives for Immigration Reform
By Kimberly Strassel
May 9, 2013
The Heritage Foundation on Monday released a report designed to kill immigration reform. A few days later, nearly 30 leaders, hailing from the core of the conservative movement—think tanks, faith groups, political and advocacy organizations—signed a public letter backing the congressional process. Which got more notice?
The media glory in conflict, and so they devoted this week to the angry feud/war/battle in the GOP over immigration reform. The evidence? One research document from one think tank. The real news is the growing unity among conservative leaders and groups over the need to at least embrace the challenge of reform. This is no 2007.
At the height of that past fray over immigration—as restrictionists whipped up seething grass-roots anger against reform, drowning out proponents—Heritage released a similar report. It fueled a raging fire, and played a singular role in derailing reform.
This time the Heritage report—which purports to show how much a founding principle of America will "cost" taxpayers—was coolly dismissed by peers. Members of influential conservative groups—from Americans for Tax Reform to the Cato Institute to the American Action Forum—immediately held a press call demolishing the report's numbers, methodology and analysis.
These leaders then joined dozens of others—from the tea party, the American Conservative Union, the Manhattan Institute, the Southern Baptist Convention and more—to meet with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to talk reform. Even those few attendees who remain opposed were there—engaged in honest dialogue. No napalm. No bazookas.
Read more:

NEW YORK TIMES: Love Thy Stranger as Thyself
MAY 11, 2013
IMMIGRATION reform is not a liberal idea. It is good, old-fashioned conservative policy — at least that’s what its supporters want the Republican faithful to believe.
The Republican Party has “historically been pro-immigration,” Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist, said after the 2012 election. The conservative National Immigration Forum declares that America needs reform that “celebrates freedom and values hard work.”
Some of the most enthusiastic endorsements of the new immigration bill have come from traditional evangelicals, who insist that reform “respects the God-given dignity of every person.” Richard Land, a Southern Baptist leader who was among the 300 evangelicals who went to Washington last month for “a day of prayer and action for immigration reform,” said that once Republicans toned down their anti-immigrant rhetoric, Latino voters would follow.
“They’re social conservatives, hard-wired to be pro-family, religious and entrepreneurial,” he told me. Mr. Land pointed to Senator Marco Rubio as the face of this “new conservative coalition.”
“Let the Democrats be the party of dependency and ever lower expectations,” Mr. Land added. “The Republicans will be the party of aspiration and opportunity — and who better to lead the way than the son of Cuban immigrants?”
The Christian right may be too optimistic about any change in the political sympathies of Latinos. Increasing numbers tell pollsters they favor same-sex marriage, for example. But the real surprise is that evangelicals may be wrong about the unyielding conservatism of their own movement.
Read more:
Molly Worthen is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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