National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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The Week Ahead: September 30-October 4

September 30, 2013 - Posted by Communications Intern

"We need to find solutions to these [immigration system] problems, not just continue to find the problems in every possible solution, thereby supporting nothing and ensuring the status quo remains the same. This is one area where most people expect both parties to come together and find a solution, not stand in the corner and shout at each other.”

Rich Beeson, the political director for Romney’s presidential campaign


Evangelical Community Continues to Mobilize for Immigration Reform
Faith groups are continuing to press for commonsense immigration reform based on biblical and moral values. The Evangelical Immigration Table is ramping up its efforts for October with Pray4Reform events across the country.

Other religious groups are also adding their voices to the clarion call for reform. The Catholic Church is also stepping up its involvement with pilgrimages across the country, in an effort to highlight the plight of immigrants and the need for reform as a moral issue. With at least 84 House Republicans on board for a legalization process, broad coalitions continue to push their members for action on reform that includes legalization — and the opportunity for earned citizenship.

Government Shutdown Threatens to Add to Immigration System Backlog
With the imminent threat of government shutdown, the immigration system stands to suffer further backlogs. Already backed up immigration courts will be working at about 30 percent capacity, while visa, passport and citizenship applications will be further delayed.

Broad immigration reform would actually help to reduce federal and state deficits, increase revenue, reduce debt and create jobs, addressing some of the same problems Congress is facing now in passing a continuing resolution on the budget.

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: House Republicans work immigration behind scenes
September30, 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Immigration overhaul legislation has been dormant in the House for months, but a few Republicans are working behind the scenes to advance it at a time the Capitol is immersed in a partisan brawl over government spending and President Barack Obama’s health care law.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, has been discussing possible legal status for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. He’s also been working with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a fellow Virginia Republican, on a bill offering citizenship to immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.
Reps. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, and Ted Poe, R-Texas, are working on a plan to create a visa program allowing more lower-skilled workers into the country.
Goodlatte and the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, hold out hopes for floor action by late October on a series of immigration bills that already have passed their committees.
“I would think that would be the next agenda item in the queue after we’re done with this mess,” McCaul said this past week, referring to bitter divisions over the health law, the level of government spending and the growing federal debt.
Read more:

ARIZONA DAILY STAR: Faith-based groups push for immigration reform
By Perla Trevizo
September 28, 2013
Faith communities across the nation are relying on marches, books and multistate radio ad campaigns to launch bigger and bolder efforts to push for comprehensive immigration legislation this year.
“Our nation can no longer wait,” reads an e-postcard for members of Congress posted on the Justice for Immigrants website — the Catholic campaign for immigration overhaul.
Religious groups have been involved in the immigration debate for years, but they’ve become more united and creative in the effort.
Last summer, the Evangelical Immigration Table launched a $400,000 multistate ad campaign “encouraging prayer and action on common-sense reform” in key congressional districts.
Catholic dioceses across the country sponsored Mass for Immigration Reform services.
A group of nuns rode a bus cross-country holding events on a “journey for justice.”
“Far more conservative groups are getting on board, which in terms evangelical activism, it’s pretty important,” said Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, political science department chair at Gordon College who has written about evangelicals and the immigration issue.
The support from the faith groups could be crucial to the immigration debate, she said. It could give lawmakers on the fence the support they need.
In Arizona, the issue has been important to religious leaders for a long time, said Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Tucson Diocese, and efforts will continue until something is done.
“Arizona’s religious, civic and business leaders and its people need to make their voices heard,” Kicanas said. Local events are being planned for November.
Read more:

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