National Immigration Forum

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The Week Ahead November 11-15

November 11, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

““In [the Church’s] view, immigration reform would protect that right and restore the rule of law while upholding the human rights and dignity of the person. As a moral matter, however, our nation cannot continue to receive the benefits of the work and contributions of undocumented immigrants without extending to them the protection of the law … Keeping these human beings as a permanent underclass of workers who are unable to assert their rights or enjoy the fruits of their labor is a stain on the soul of the nation.”

— Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a Nov. 7 letter to Speaker John Boehner


Broad Coalition Will Take to the Web in Digital Day of Action Push:
An unprecedented coalition of organizations is joining forces Wednesday for a Digital Day of Action for immigration reform. From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to United We Dream to the National Association of Evangelicals and beyond, organizations from across the political, geographic and occupational spectrum are partaking in the digital push to show that America is #Ready4Reform.

Since these groups started using #Ready4Reform just two weeks ago, users with more than 67 million followers have posted more than 60,000 tweets with the hashtag. The Digital Day of Action will include a social media push using ads on social networking sites targeted at key congressional districts, a unified #Ready4Reform profile picture and more.

Nationwide, Faith Leaders Continue Call for Immigration Reform:
As the push for reform continues to gain momentum across the country, faith leaders continue to urge their members of Congress to see immigration as a moral issue. Last week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner (OH-08), urging the House to act on immigration before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), began a 40-day fast last week as he and others pray for immigration reform. Although he has committed to 40 days, he announced that he is willing to extend the fast until immigration reform passes.

And on Tuesday, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, will appear alongside Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, as part of a bilingual gathering of worship, testimony and prayer hosted by the church, Willow Creek Casa de Luz and World Relief DuPage/Aurora. Tuesday’s event joins hundreds that have taken place across the country in the past month as part of the Evangelical Immigration Table‘s ongoing Pray for Reform campaign.

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: ASSOCIATED PRESS: Top Catholic Bishop Presses House on Immigration
By Donna Cassata
November 8, 2013
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is pressuring the House to act on immigration legislation before the end of the year, calling the issue “a matter of great moral urgency” that cannot wait.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said in a letter to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Thursday that he was troubled by reports that immigration reform is delayed in the House since lawmakers have a responsibility to resolve the issue. Writing on behalf of the 450-plus U.S. cardinals and bishops, Dolan said they respectfully request that the House address the immigration issue as soon as possible.
The Senate passed a bill in June that would provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally and tighten border security, but the measure has stalled in the House where Boehner and GOP leaders have argued for a piecemeal approach.
“As a moral matter ... our nation cannot continue to receive the benefits of the work and contributions of undocumented immigrants without extending to them the protection of the law,” Dolan wrote. “Keeping these human beings as a permanent underclass of workers who are unable to assert their rights or enjoy the fruits of their labor is a stain on the soul of the nation.”
Dolan reiterated the bishops’ stand that immigration legislation includes a path to citizenship, reaffirms family reunification, deals with future flows of migrant workers and restores basic due process protections to immigrants.
He wrote Boehner, a Catholic, that immigration is “a challenge that has confounded our nation for years, with little action from our federally elected officials. It is a matter of great moral urgency that cannot wait any longer for action.”
Read more:

SHEBOYGAN PRESS (Wisconsin) (DeVrou Op-Ed): Urgently praying for immigration reform
By Rev. Wayne DeVrou
November 9, 2013
As Congress debates a variety of important issues, I and other evangelical Christians are praying that they do not miss the opportunity to address one of the most urgent ones facing our country today: immigration.
While immigration is an important political, social and economic issue, we sometimes forget that it is also a moral one. The Scriptures have a great deal to say about how those of us who follow Jesus would think about immigrants in our community and the policies that affect them.
God specifically calls his people to care for those who are vulnerable and repeatedly highlights three particular groups: orphans, widows and immigrants. He also commands the Israelites to allow their own immigrant history to inform how they treat those who migrated into their land later, a principle that should resonate with us as Americans.
While the biblical commands to love and welcome immigrants are many, that does not mean we should condone the violation of law or that we cannot insist upon secure national borders. God established government to maintain order, and Christians are commanded to “be subject to the governing authorities.” We have a responsibility to insist that the rule of law is respected and honored.
The only way to bring together these various biblical principles — hospitality, human dignity and family unity on one hand, respecting the rule of law and insisting upon secure borders on the other — is to reform and enforce our laws.
We must make it more difficult to enter the country illegally and work without authorization. We must also facilitate lawful migration by fixing our visa system so that the number of visas available matches the needs of our economy, keeps families together and ensures that the United States is a refuge for those fleeing persecution.
Read more:
Rev. Wayne DeVrou is the Senior Pastor of the First Reformed Church of Oostburg.

WHITE MOUNTAIN INDEPENDENT (Arizona) (Hamer Op-Ed): Gap is narrowing on immigration reform
By Glen Hamer
November 8, 2013
Various Arizona chamber and business leaders have made numerous visits to Washington, D.C., over the years to push for reform of our nation’s badly broken immigration system. As a border state, we understand this issue well. For years, the business community in Arizona has been pressing Congress and the administration for a secure border, workable visa and guest worker programs, nationwide employee verification programs such as E-Verify, and a way for those who did not enter the country legally but are now contributing to our state to get right with the law, especially those brought to this country as children. The failure of the federal government to act resulted in Arizona and many other states trying to do immigration reform on their own, resulting in a patchwork of policies nationwide.
But it is obvious today that all roads to reform lead through Washington, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. U.S., which held that state attempts to regulate immigration were pre-empted by federal immigration law.
On Oct. 29, when a group of about 20 Arizona business, faith and law enforcement leaders visited with all nine of our U.S. House members, we were not alone. Over 600 leaders from over 40 states took to Capitol Hill to urge House members, with a focus on the Republican majority, to support bringing legislation to the floor this year.
I had the privilege to address the gathering Oct. 28 at the opening reception to discuss why reform is so important and beneficial to our economy and security. Our country’s greatest comparative advantage is that the best, brightest and hardest workers from across the globe desire to work in our country.
Before we hit the Hill on Oct. 29, we gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to prepare. The U.S. Chamber and their Senior Vice President Randel Johnson have been the lead business organization on this entire reform effort. At the kickoff meeting, we heard from conservative icon Grover Norquist, who made the free-market case for reform. Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Rebecca Tallent of the Bipartisan Policy Center remarked that all credible studies of reform point to significant economic and budgetary benefits. Fresno County (Calif.) Sheriff Margaret Mims made a compelling case for the increased security reform could bring. Faith leaders offered a humanitarian case for reform, and our delegation was joined by a number of pastors working in coordination with a coalition called Bibles, Badges and Business.
Read more:
Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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