National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead: May 6-10

May 08, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“I took on this difficult issue, despite the political risk it entails, because fixing immigration is essential for the nation’s security, is good for job creation and has always helped separate America from the rest of the world.” ”
—Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) op-ed, May 2

SUMMARY
Senate Prepares for Markup of Immigration Reform Bill
After a one-week recess, Congress returns to session this week. The Senate has a full agenda on immigration, including hearings and Thursday’s Judiciary Committee markup of the “Gang of Eight” bill — the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744. The markup represents a significant step forward for the bill through the legislative process.

The progress in Congress comes as Americans across the political spectrum, including “Bibles, Badges and Business” leaders, reinforce their support for a new immigration process and urge Congress to keep up the momentum. Polls continue to show strong bipartisan support for reform (see below). And leaders are speaking out — including conservative leaders critical of a “flawed and error-prone” Heritage Foundation report released today.

Meanwhile, in a press call Wednesday, evangelical leaders are slated to launch the next stage in their push for commonsense immigration reform: a 92-day “Pray for Reform” campaign with strong grassroots and social media components. Last week, the Evangelical Immigration Table sent a letter to Congress urging passage of broad, bipartisan reform in the next 92 days.

New Polling Shows Continued Strong Support for Reform
In a poll released today, respondents strongly support immigration reform and the “Gang of Eight” bill. Among the key findings:
• 71 percent of voters, including 74 percent of conservative Republicans, support comprehensive reform.
• 42 percent of voters said they are more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supports comprehensive immigration reform; 12 percent said they are less likely to support such a candidate.
• 64 percent of participants, including 55 percent of conservative Republicans, support a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans.

The poll was commissioned by FWD.us, an organization of tech leaders focusing on keeping the United States competitive in the global economy. The new results continue a trend in a plethora of recent polls, which show strong momentum for immigration reform — as well as American voters’ strong support for members of Congress who are willing to vote for broad immigration reform that address our broken immigration system for the long term.

CALENDAR:Please visit our Events page to find this week's immigration-related events.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/LegBulletin.pdf

MUST READ: NEW YORK TIMES: Transformation of a Town Underscores Immigrants’ Impact
By Nelson Schwartz
May 5, 2013
PORT CHESTER, N.Y. — Nearly 20 years after he arrived penniless in this country from Mexico, Moises owns two restaurants, with a third on the way. He has five employees, an American wife and a stepdaughter. His food even has a following on Yelp.com.
What Moises does not have is American citizenship, or even a green card permitting him to reside legally in the United States. So he inhabits an economic netherworld, shuttling among his establishments on the bus and train because he cannot get a driver’s license and making do without bank loans or credit cards even as he files for zoning permits and incorporation papers.
While the estimated 11 million immigrants here illegally are often portrayed as dishwashers, farmhands, gardeners and other low-paid service workers, increasingly they are also business owners and employers. That is one reason economists say opening the door to entrepreneurs like Moises — whose last name is being withheld because of the risk of deportation — could give the American economy a shot in the arm.
The most prominent feature of the proposed immigration bill introduced by a bipartisan group of senators last month would provide residents of the United States who overstayed their visas or arrived illegally before Dec. 31, 2011, a long and winding path to citizenship, one that would probably take more than a decade to complete. But less noticed is that the legislation would offer such residents much more immediate provisional status, enabling them to work and travel legally.
That status would make it easier for immigrants here illegally to open businesses, buy big-ticket items like homes and cars and negotiate raises. All of these help explain why immigration reform is one of the few things economists on the left and right generally agree on these days.
While there is considerable debate about whether increased immigration depresses wages on the low end of the pay scale, most experts say allowing more new immigrants and offering a more secure legal footing for workers who are currently in the country illegally would bring the nation broad economic gains.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/business/port-chester-ny-is-transformed-by-immigration.html?_r=0

MUST READ: POLITICO: Gang of Eight plots path to Senate supermajority
By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN
MAY 6, 2013
Senate immigration negotiators are targeting as many as two dozen Republicans for a show-of-force majority — which they believe may be the only way a reform bill will have the momentum to force the House to act.
Reform proponents are looking for votes far beyond the usual moderate suspects to senators in conservative bastions such as Utah, Georgia and Wyoming. The senators landed on the list because they’re retiring, representing agricultural states, anxious to get the issue behind the party, important to persuading skittish House Republicans or all of the above.
Gang of Eight push for supermajority - Mike Allen reports
But bringing along many of these staunchly conservative targets will require almost flawless execution by the Gang of Eight, along with lots of political momentum, a few more Democratic concessions and, perhaps above all else, the continued backing of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Senators and their immigration reform allies insist the goal of 70-plus votes laid out last month by Gang of Eight leaders Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) is more than just attainable under the right circumstances — it’s imperative. The legislative strategy for passing a bill is based largely on the theory that an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in the Senate is essential to getting it through the Republican-controlled House.
Schumer is trying to persuade Republicans by emphasizing what’s already in the bill, such as an overhaul to the agricultural visa program that the industry endorsed. Rubio is pressing the Judiciary Committee, which will take up the bill this week, to strengthen the border security requirements. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) may address concerns about the Boston bombings with an amendment mandating broader background checks for so-called high-risk immigrants.
“Once you start to see the momentum that has been behind this — and that we anticipate will continue through the mark-up and onto the floor — I think that it’s going be the type of thing where a lot of Republicans will want to jump all at the same time,” said Marshall Fitz, an immigration policy strategist at the liberal Center for American Progress.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/gang-of-eight-immigration-supermajority-90949.html

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