The Week Ahead: August 31-September 4

Communications Associate

August 31, 2015


“Hysteria over illegal immigration does not justify a failure to treat all immigrants humanely and in accordance with the law. Those who pose no threat to public safety should not be targets of incarceration — especially children.”
– The Miami Herald Editorial Board on child immigrant detention, Aug. 29


Voters Rise Above Campaign’s Immigration Controversies
Immigration rhetoric remains heated on the campaign trail, but as 400 Democrats and Republicans in Iowa showed on Saturday, a better immigration process still has bipartisan support.

“It’s a start. There was no political bombasting, name-calling, protesting. … This is what needs to happen,” a retired Storm Lake, Iowa, art teacher said of the bipartisan #UniteIowa immigration forum. (For more on Iowa support for immigration reform, see the Forum’s Iowa primer.)

The event’s tone was a far cry from the subset of candidates who seem to be trying to outdo one another’s toughness toward immigrants and immigration. Most recently, candidates have called a wall along the northern border a “legitimate issue” and suggested tracking foreign visitors like FedEx tracks packages.

These are not the realistic and productive immigration proposals voters are looking for, nor are they messages that will appeal to the rapidly growing demographic of immigrant and minority voters. As the National Journal reported Thursday, an American Latino reaches voting age every 30 seconds; that’s 800,000 potential new voters per year.

Pope’s Focus on Immigrants Likely to Include Address to Congress
Pope Francis’s U.S. visit Sept. 22-27 will include a focus on migrants and on immigration. As a USA Today article points out, the pope is likely to challenge Congress on the issue during his address on Sept. 24.

Once it returns next week, Congress is likely to consider several anti-immigrant measures, all amid the negativity of the presidential campaign. The pope’s message could serve as an antidote. He has focused on the human dignity of immigrants and the need for just, humane and protective approaches toward immigrants and refugees.

In the meantime, leaders of other faiths are speaking out against harsh rhetoric toward immigrants and immigration. For example, Matthew Soerens, the U.S. Church Training Specialist for World Relief and a founding member of the Evangelical Immigration Table, writes in Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal that escalating rhetoric around immigrants “compels church leaders to courageously apply the truth of Scripture to this topic, or else be tarred by association and sloppy reporting.”

All times Eastern unless noted.

Tuesday, September 1

Friday, September 4

Saturday, September 5


Review our most recent summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


WALL STREET JOURNAL (Garza Opinion): Trump’s Immigration Impact [VIDEO]
By Daniel Garza
August 27, 2015
The Libre Initiative Executive Director Daniel Garza on the GOP’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and how to win the Latino vote.

NEW YORK TIMES (Egan Column): The Anti-Trump Cometh
By Timothy Egan
August 28, 2015
One man hasn’t watched television in 25 years, gets around in a Ford Focus, and is named for a nature-loving pauper who didn’t believe in owning money, property or shoes. He is considered infallible, but often doubts his daily utterances.
The other man spent 14 years in the mirrored embrace of a television show about him, is transported by a fleet with his name on the side, and looks down on anyone who hasn’t amassed a mountain of property. He thinks he’s infallible.
In a few weeks, Pope Francis will visit our fair land, a fitting pivot from the Summer of Trump, closing out a gluttonous episode of narcissism, rudeness, frivolity and xenophobia. For all that the orangutan-haired vulgarian has done to elevate the worst human traits a public figure can have, Francis is the anti-Trump. He has more power, media magnetism and authenticity in his lone functioning lung than Donald Trump has in his entire empire of ego.
Trump may dismiss the 78-year-old leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. Yeah, so he’s got his little 109-acre Vatican City, with those silly Swiss Guards. It’s the smallest country in the world — one-eighth the size of Central Park! As Joseph Stalin asked: How many divisions does the pope have? And this guy from Argentina with the goofy grin — no golf courses, resorts or even women who, sadly, are no longer a 10. He’s celibate!
Read more here:

CHRISTIANITY TODAY LEADERSHIP JOURNAL (Soerens Op-Ed): Trumped-Up Charges: Who’s defining your church’s reputation toward Immigrants?
By Matt Soerens
August 26, 2015
Immigration has always been a polarizing political topic, but these days the rhetorical intensity surrounding immigrants has reached a new level. This reality compels church leaders to courageously apply the truth of Scripture to this topic, or else be tarred by association and sloppy reporting.
Donald Trump began his campaign by describing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “bringing crime.” Last week, he joined fellow presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Scott Walker in calling for further limits to legal immigration, ostensibly to protect the interests of American workers. He called for an end to the practice of birthright citizenship—enshrined in the Fourteen amendment, though Mr. Trump insists that “some very, very good lawyers” disagree with the plain wording and longstanding Supreme Court interpretation of that post-Civil War amendment—and within days nearly half of his fellow GOP candidates echoed his call. Not to be outdone, Ben Carson also suggested the use of military drone strikes along the U.S.-Mexico border.
It’s not just candidates, either: an influential radio host in Iowa suggested last week that the solution to illegal immigration is to make those who do not self-deport the enslaved property of the state. “What’s wrong with slavery?” he asks, apparently not kidding. At a candidate forum in South Carolina, a woman compared immigrants to “rats” and “roaches” and gained applause. In Boston, two men urinated on and assaulted a homeless Hispanic man, citing Donald Trump as their inspiration; Mr. Trump’s response was to say that the incident was “a shame” but that the “people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again.”
Read more here:
Matthew Soerens is the U.S. Church Training Specialist for World Relief, a founding member of the Evangelical Immigration Table, and co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate (InterVarsity Press, 2009). Various sample sermons and other discipleship resources focused on immigration are available at