The Week Ahead: Dec. 12-16

Communications Associate

December 12, 2016

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I think that we should have something that balances the concerns of all the parties involved and make sure that we don’t pull the rug out from under people.”

— House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) on Dreamers, Dec. 8

SUMMARY

Steady Support for Immigrants Opens Door to Solutions in 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, headlines are pointing to the human elements of immigration, not just the politics around it. Deep underlying support from a range of leaders and messengers this past year lay the foundation for a values-focused conversation in 2017.

In South Carolina, a broad coalition of faith and other community leaders helped block an anti-refugee bill in the spring. After more than 20 veterans, pastors, refugees and other leaders gave testimony against the bill with no one speaking in favor of it, the legislation died in committee.

And that was just one example of the push for a more positive conversation on immigration. Ahead of primaries and caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona and dozens of other states, local leaders discussed why America needs constructive immigration solutions and must remain a welcoming nation. And in the months leading up to the general election, events such as panels in Miami and in Appleton, Wisconsin, went beyond politics and emphasized enhancing our security and facilitating a healthier economy.

Meanwhile, polls have indicated support across the political spectrum for a realistic approach. A Pew Research survey found support among 80 percent of voters overall — and 60 percent of Donald Trump supporters — for a way for the undocumented to earn legalized status if they meet certain requirements. Throughout the year, polls have shown that a solid majority of Americans support earned legalization over mass deportation.

Since the election, faith, law enforcement and business leaders have continued to speak for an immigration process that honors our values and helps all Americans.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration: http://immigrationforum.org/blog/legislative-bulletin-friday-december-9-2016

MUST READS:

THE HILL: Senators move to protect ‘Dreamers’
By Jordain Carney
December 9 2016

A bipartisan pair of senators is filing legislation that would extend legal status for undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) rolled out legislation on Friday to try to provide an assurance to such people in case President-elect Donald Trump nixes the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

They’re calling it the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act, or BRIDGE Act.

“This is an effort by Sen. Graham and myself to have a bipartisan answer to the question about what happens to these 800,000 and others like them while we debate the future of immigration,” Durbin said.

He added that hundreds of thousands of immigrants have a “concern and a fear” about what will happen to them if Trump roles back Obama’s executive action.

In addition to Durbin and Graham, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) are backing the bill.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/309731-senators-move-to-protect-dreamers

TIME (Dong Op-Ed): I’m an Undocumented Immigrant and an Evangelical Christian
By Liz Dong
December 7 2016

Since the U.S. presidential election, I find myself belonging to two at times contradictory groups: one that President-elect Donald Trump is targeting and another that helped carry him to the presidency. I’m a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and I’m an evangelical Christian.

I came into the country from China legally as a dependent under my mom’s work visa when I was 10. I lost my status in 2001 when our immigration lawyer forgot to attach my paperwork to my mom’s when she changed jobs and needed to apply for a new employer-sponsored work visa. We tried to find workable solutions to reinstate my status under the current immigration system, but none existed.

I was devastated by the discovery that I was now undocumented. Some 11 million immigrants live in the U.S. without proper documentation, due to overstaying their visas, crossing the border illegally (sometimes through human trafficking) or other reasons. This group would have been a “them” to me, but I was now part of it. I discovered that we are far more similar than different. And like the immigrants before us, we come in pursuit of freedom and a chance to realize our full potential.

Read more: http://time.com/4591271/undocumented-immigrant-evangelical-christian/

FORBES (Winegarden Op-Ed): Incenting Growth Through Immigration
By Wayne Winegarden
December 8, 2016

Fixing the U.S.’ broken immigration system can help accelerate domestic economic growth. And, President-elect Trump should leverage this opportunity by embracing a comprehensive immigration reform package.

This past campaign season was rife with harsh and often misleading immigration rhetoric. Despite popular sentiment that immigrants threaten U.S. jobs, there is no evidence that, broadly speaking, immigration displaces native workers. In fact, the evidence shows just the opposite – immigrants, on net, increase the income earned by U.S. citizens.

According to a 2016 report by the Bush Center, immigrants increase the share of income earned by U.S. citizens by 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent a year, or an additional $36 billion to $72 billion in the pockets of current U.S. citizens each and every year because of immigrants.

Furthermore, as documented by the Manhattan Institute, immigration is essential for continued growth in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), which are key drivers of the U.S. economy’s future prosperity.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/econostats/2016/12/08/incenting-growth-through-immigration