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The Week Ahead: September 23-27

September 23, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

“I believe every individual is created in the image of God and has value. They should be treated with respect and dignity … It's time to stop ignoring the immigration problems. We're a long way from Ellis Island and the words on the Statue of Liberty.”

— Republican Congressman James Lankford (OK-01) in a Sept. 22 Tulsa World op-ed


Bibles, Badges and Business Leaders Continue Pressure for Reform
Lawmakers returned to Washington with a full plate of legislative items, but faith, law enforcement and business leaders are making sure that their members of Congress know that immigration reform is still a top priority — and representatives are taking notice. Last week the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), discussed the need to move forward on immigration reform.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also met with Congressional leaders in D.C. this past week, while in Texas, Bibles, Badges and Business leaders published a trio of op-eds in the Houston Chronicle about the urgency of immigration reform (see below). The Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network continues to host events across the country, including one this Friday at the Aspen Chamber of Commerce.

Study Highlights Immigrant Contributions
The Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and the Partnership for a New American Economy have released a new report highlighting how immigration helps revitalize communities across the country through the creation and preservation of manufacturing jobs, the increase in housing wealth, and heightened civic engagement.

The study shows that among other benefits, attracting 100,000 new immigrants per year would preserve 4,600 American manufacturing jobs and grow U.S. housing wealth by $80 billion annually, revitalizing cities and allowing businesses to grow.

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 (Garcia Op-Ed): New legislation will offer boost to our public safety
By Adrian Garcia
September 21, 2013
"The arc of the moral universe is long," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "but it bends toward justice."
Likewise, legislation often makes its way through Congress slower than a three-legged mule pulling a plow through a bed of rocks. But the will of the people for comprehensive immigration reform, of the kind that has already been approved by the U.S. Senate, remains strong and intent on shattering political obstacles.
When law enforcement leaders, religious leaders, employers and employees, and U.S. citizens as well as legal residents agree on a pressing issue, the will of the people is expressed. So it is with immigration reform. That's why it is time for the U.S. House to renew its focus on immigration reform and pass a sweeping bill that will fix the broken system we have now.
Without reform, thousands of crime victims in Harris County will continue to be afraid of making outcry to police because of the misguided fear that we will overlook murder, sexual assault, robbery, domestic violence, wage theft and other crimes just to ponder their immigration status.
Most victims of sex slavery and other forms of human trafficking in the U.S. are native-born citizens. But without reform, thousands of foreign women and men forced into prostitution and hard labor within our borders will be harder for us to rescue.
Read more:
Garcia is sheriff of Harris County.

HOUSTON CHRONICLE (Hammond Op-Ed): Flexibility in border security plan will help economy
By Bill Hammond
September 19, 2013
Texas is on the front line of the current immigration debate. We have seen firsthand the cost of a broken border and the toll it can have on citizens and immigrants alike. There also has been a toll on Texas businesses that can be removed only by Congress and the president putting into place comprehensive immigration reform.
Sealing the border is essential, but loading up the border with more border patrol officers is only part of the answer. Those officers need to focus on criminal activity, such as drug smuggling and human trafficking. Focusing on people who are simply looking for a way to feed their families takes away valuable resources from fighting violent crimes that plague this country.
The real answer to our immigration problem is allowing enough legal immigration to meet the needs of employers. If employers' needs are met, there will be an expanded avenue for people to enter legally and allow for greater focus on those who enter illegally.
Piecemeal plans won't fix the issue. Border security and additional avenues for legal immigration must work in tandem. Border security will never be adequate unless legal immigration is put in place. This is more than a "boots on the ground" problem. It is a supply and demand issue, too. As long as jobs are available, there are immigrants who will access this country by legal or illegal means if it is the only way to support their families.
Read more:
Hammond is president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.

HOUSTON CHRONICLE (Moore Op-Ed): Reforms can promote family unity, citizenship
By Tim Moore
September 21, 2013
The time to act on immigration reform is now. It's time to move forward to reform our broken immigration system and help heal the nation from the pain a flawed and cruel system of immigration has caused.
Reform is good for the economy, for law enforcement and for the moral fabric of our nation. We should approach it not as a problem but as an opportunity.
In the past month, tens of thousands of evangelicals around the country have become Prayer Partners in the Evangelical Immigration Table's Pray for Reform campaign, during which we are praying for Congress to come together and enact immigration reform. Since the spring, we have had scores of local prayer events and conversations. An evangelical radio ad campaign on immigration has reached every region of the country, with local pastors lending their voices to ads in 16 states.
With support from their congregations, America's evangelical leaders are meeting their moral obligation to address the needs and circumstances of immigrants in our communities and country. Throughout the Bible, God's heart for the immigrant is clear. The word for immigrant appears 92 times in the Old Testament alone, and the New Testament says in no uncertain terms that however we treat the stranger in our midst, it is as though we are treating Jesus himself that way. We support legislation that reflects our Christian values and builds the common good.
Read more:
Moore is pastor and founder of the Walk Worthy Baptist Church in Austin.

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