Blog & Updates
The Week Ahead: May 28-31
May 28, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Christians across the country have come together, putting our faith into action for 11 million people that our Scriptures call ‘strangers.’ We have worked and prayed hard for reform and have urged our nation’s political leaders to enact immigration reform that keeps families together and provides an earned pathway to citizenship while also ensuring the safety of our borders. We won’t stop speaking, acting and praying for our immigrant brothers and sisters until we see this vital reform signed into law.”
—Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners, in reaction to the Senate Judiciary Committee sending the immigration bill to the Senate floor
Leaders across the Spectrum Keep Up the Momentum During Recess
On May 21 the Senate Judiciary Committee sent the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, on to the full Senate in a bipartisan 13-5 vote. With debate in the full Senate ahead, Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform (BBB) and Evangelical Immigration Table leaders are making sure their elected officials hear their support for reform during this week’s congressional recess.
The BBB network is holding events in Kansas City, with leaders from both Missouri and Kansas; Indiana; and California. Meanwhile, the Evangelical Immigration Table is set to announce nationwide radio ads focusing on the Pray for Reform campaign and the continuing push for reform during a press call Thursday — just as local Pray for Reform events kick off around the country.
The bill now goes to the Congressional Budget Office for “scoring,” and it likely will reach the Senate floor in early to mid June. In the Judiciary Committee, most amendments that passed did so in bipartisan fashion, and the bill remains strong following the markup process.
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: HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Cruz’s attempt to strip citizenship provision from immigration reform fails — in a big way
By Corey Kane
May 21, 2013
A series of ambitious amendments by the Texas senators to significantly reshape immigration reform failed today, with several Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee joining a solid bloc of Democrats in foiling the efforts by Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
The most controversial was an attempt by Cruz to strip the path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. The Houston Republican’s amendment, defeated on a lopsided 13-5 vote, would have allowed unauthorized immigrants to stay as legal permanent residents. Cruz passionately defended his proposal to the very end, saying a path to citizenship would encourage more illegal immigration.
While all of Cruz’s proposals were voted down by a bipartisan coalition of reform backers, Cornyn did succeed in attaching one amendment to assist victims of some crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
Cruz said he knew in advance that the committee would decide to reject his proposals, but he warned his Senate colleagues of the consequences of their action.
“In my view that decision will make it much, much more likely that this entire bill will fail in the House of Representatives,” Cruz said.
Cruz’s amendment was as the first major “litmus test” for senators and gave Congress-watchers a good idea of which GOP senators will ultimately support the bipartisan measure working its way through the Judiciary Committee.
Three Republicans joined the 10 committee Democrats in opposition to Cruz’s amendment, including two “Gang of Eight” Republicans involved in the bill’s original draft—Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah also voted against Cruz’s amendment.
Read more: http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2013/05/cruzs-attempt-to-strip-citizenship-provision-from-immigration-reform-fails-in-a-big-way/
LOS ANGELES TIMES (Editorial): Immigration bill a testament to compromise
By The Times editorial board
May 23, 2013
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to send the bipartisan immigration bill — more formally known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernizing Act — to the full Senate. The 800-plus page bill is by far the most ambitious attempt to overhaul the nation's immigration system in nearly three decades. The version that will reach the floor is, not surprisingly, imperfect, but the fact that it emerged from committee at all, and largely intact, is a testament to both political parties' willingness to compromise — a characteristic that has been in short supply in Washington for a long time.
It is a grave disappointment, of course, that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was pressured to withdraw his amendment that would have allowed U.S. citizens to apply for green cards for their same-sex partners. But as Leahy himself acknowledged, that was the price of moving the measure to the floor, so he capitulated with "a heavy heart."
The legislation still faces plenty of hurdles. Some Republicans will argue, as they did Wednesday during a House hearing on the bill, that it doesn't go far enough on border and internal enforcement. Others, such as Chris Crane, the head of a union that represents deportation officers, will stoke fears that immigration reform will create some kind of a public safety crisis.
Such arguments, however, are disingenuous. The bill actually sets aside more than $4 billion for drones and other technology to secure the border. And it strengthens internal enforcement by requiring employers to use a system that verifies the immigration status of new hires. More than 35 state attorneys general have publicly come out in support of the measure because they believe it will keep communities safer, not put them in greater danger.
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-immigration-reform-20130523,0,1546486.story
NEW YORK TIMES: Judge Finds Violations of Rights by Sheriff
By Fernanda Santos
May 24, 2013
PHOENIX — A federal judge ruled on Friday that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies had violated the constitutional rights of Latinos by targeting them during raids and traffic stops here and throughout Maricopa County.
With his ruling, Judge G. Murray Snow of United States District Court delivered the most decisive defeat so far to Sheriff Arpaio, who has come to symbolize Arizona’s strict approach to immigration enforcement by making it the leading mission for many of the 800 deputies under his command at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
At 142 pages, the decision is peppered with stinging criticism of the policies and practices espoused by Sheriff Arpaio, who Judge Snow said had turned much of his focus to arresting immigrants who were in the country illegally, in most cases civil violations, at the expense of fighting crimes.
He said the sheriff relied on racial profiling and illegal detentions to target Latinos, using their ethnicity as the main basis for suspecting they were in the country illegally. Many of the people targeted were American citizens or legal residents.
“In an immigration enforcement context,” Judge Snow ruled, the sheriff’s office “did not believe that it constituted racial profiling to consider race as one factor among others in making law enforcement decisions.” In fact, he said its plans and policies confirmed that, “in the context of immigration enforcement,” deputies “could consider race as one factor among others.”
The ruling prohibits the sheriff’s office from using “race or Latino ancestry” as a factor in deciding to stop any vehicle with Latino occupants, or as a factor in deciding whether they may be in the country without authorization.
It also prohibits deputies from reporting a vehicle’s Latino occupants to federal immigration authorities or detaining, holding or arresting them, unless there is more than just a “reasonable belief” that they are in the country illegally. To detain them, the ruling said, the deputies must also have reasonable suspicion that the occupants are violating the state’s human-trafficking and employment laws or committing other crimes.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/25/us/federal-judge-finds-violations-of-rights-by-sheriff-joe-arpaio.html