The Week Ahead: April 25-29

Communications Associate

April 25, 2016


“The rhetoric of some of the top presidential candidates has clearly made the case that our immigration system is broken. It is essential for the good of agriculture and our country that we develop and put into place functioning immigration laws. Those laws must address our current labor force and our labor needs going into the future.”

–         Bob Naerebout, executive director of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association (and National Immigration Forum board member) in a Hoard’s Dairyman blog post today


Looking for ‘Presidential’? Seek Answers to Immigration Questions
As media reports question whether Donald Trump is becoming more presidential, his and other candidates’ proposals regarding immigrants and immigration speak for themselves.

With Trump expected to do well in Tuesday’s primary states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — we must remember Trump’s past words, as the Washington Post editorial board pointed out Friday. And none of the Republican candidates has changed his position on immigration.

In this polarizing atmosphere, Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz have called for a border wall, for rejecting the Constitution’s provision for “birthright citizenship” and for mass deportation, while Gov. John Kasich has expressed general support for reform. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates have said they would go beyond President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

But polls continue to show that voters across the spectrum are looking for commonsense solutions. We need our next president to work across partisan lines and recognize that permanent solutions lie with Congress passing updated immigration laws.

The candidates still must answer key questions on immigration:

1)      What are the costs of your plan, and how will it help our economy?

2)     How will your immigration approach strengthen families and communities?

3)     How will your plan strengthen the rule of law?

4)     How will you address America’s changing demographics?

5)     How do you intend to address the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in a way that honors American values?

“If candidates can’t — or won’t — provide real answers to these key immigration questions, then they shouldn’t be in the running,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Our communities, our businesses and our country deserve a modern immigration process that helps all of us thrive. And we deserve presidential candidates who have plans to get us there.”

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


HOUSTON CHRONICLE (Marek Op-Ed): Undocumenting our interests
By Stan Marek
April 22, 2016
As someone intimately familiar with the economic realities of the situation, I am quite disappointed by the immigration arguments made by the Texas Attorney General’s Office before the United States Supreme Court this past week.
Regardless of your position on President Obama’s executive action protecting immigrants from deportation or the State of Texas’ claim that driver’s licenses for them would be an unfair burden, one fact is inescapable: They are here, and they are not going anywhere.
An estimated 2.5 million are in Texas and many of them are doing a majority of the construction work, usually for low wages and under dangerous conditions. They’re also cooking our food, mowing our lawns, cleaning our buildings and performing many other necessary tasks.
Why are our state officials ignoring the fact that once many of Houston’s 600,000 undocumented immigrants are protected from deportation, they would have to start paying more taxes like the rest of us?
Every credible independent study on the subject has shown that undocumented immigrants are a net benefit to the Texas economy. The only state-conducted study on it, back in 2006, found they boosted the Texas economy by $17.7 billion and have not been a drain on state government. It’s been a decade since that comptroller’s study. My suspicion is our leaders haven’t seen fit to do another one because the results would not be politically beneficial to them during election cycles in which Republicans compete with each other to appear as anti-immigrant as possible. That style of politics laid the groundwork for the rise of Donald Trump.
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Marek is president and CEO of Marek, a specialty subcontractor based in Houston.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Immigrant Whole Foods workers get schooled on English in the context of the supermarket
By Erica Pearson
April 23, 2016
“I want tabouli salad,” English instructor Paula DaSilva-Michelin said to one of her students during a recent role-playing exercise.
“Do you have gluten-free bagels?” she asked another.
The vocabulary may seem unusual, but it is tailored perfectly to her class at LaGuardia Community College — which is entirely made up of immigrant workers at Whole Foods grocery stores in New York City.
The classes, which are also being offered at Westchester Community College for workers at the crunchy supermarket chain’s suburban branches, were launched this spring as part of a new project from the nonprofit-backed New American Workforce program and the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education.
The aim is for students to gain English speaking, reading and writing skills using the context of their supermarket workplace so that they can climb from positions like food preparation and maintenance to higher-paying spots as supervisors or on the sales floor.
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