The Week Ahead: Jan. 3-6

Communications Associate

January 3, 2017

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Just as federal immigration enforcement now is reliant on local police departments, local police departments have also realized that they are also incredibly reliant on the communities themselves that help them with policing efforts. If you don’t have the cooperation of the community, that itself becomes a problem. You can’t entirely do it from a top-down enforcement perspective.”

— Rick Su, University at Buffalo School of Law professor whose expertise is immigration and local government, Dec. 30

SUMMARY

New Congress Convenes amid Opportunities on Immigration

Republicans have an opportunity to act on immigration solutions that would benefit all Americans and honor our values as the 115th Congress begins its session today. As they convene, leaders across the country will depend on them to reject harmful proposals that would take us backward.

State by state, business needs, shared values and shifting demographics create an opening for leaders to craft intelligent, effective immigration policies. In addressing and updating our immigration process, lawmakers must keep sight of immigrants’ importance to our communities, economy and successes as a country.

An immigration process that meets the needs of our nation’s workforce, families and communities would help all Americans. This year, leaders in business, faith and law enforcement will continue to urge members of Congress and the new administration to reject empty promises and work together on solutions.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

The latest summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration, posted before the holidays: http://immigrationforum.org/blog/the-week-ahead-dec-12-16/

MUST READS:

NPR: How One U.S. Group Turns Migrants Into Employees
By Deborah Amos
December 28, 2016

When Almothana Alhamoud, a 31-year-old Syrian data analyst, arrived in Chicago two years ago after fleeing the Syrian war, he jumped at his first job offer, a nightshift cashier at a convenience store.

“When I came over here I just want to find anything to survive,” he says over dinner with his family in Chicago. His parents and two sisters fled Damascus six months after he did. The family has applied for asylum in the U.S.

Alhamoud has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. His career as a data analyst for Syria’s Agriculture Ministry was cut short by the war. In job interviews in Chicago, he struggled with English and discovered his Syrian degree was not recognized. He feared he would have to get by in low-wage jobs.

“It was cold and it was the worst winter I ever seen in my life. I was struggling there,” he says, now looking back.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/12/28/507146518/how-one-u-s-group-turns-migrants-into-employees

 

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Afghans who aided US military face long, fearful visa wait
By Julie Watson
December 21, 2016

SAN DIEGO — Army Capt. Matthew Ball relied heavily on his Afghan interpreter during a yearlong mission in one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous areas, entrusting him daily with his life.

The interpreter received death threats from the Taliban for helping American troops, and has now been in hiding for nearly four years. He ventures out only in the cloak of darkness.

“I’m living my days in hell. Even if someone is not really looking at me, I feel so paranoid, like this guy is going to kill me,” Qismat Amin said in an interview with The Associated Press via an internet call.

Amin is one of more than 13,000 Afghans and their immediate family members waiting to get a special immigrant visa for aiding the U.S. mission, according to the U.S. State Department. A defense bill approved by Congress and sent to President Barack Obama calls for an additional 1,500 visas and extends the program until the end of 2020.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/afghans-who-aided-us-military-face-long-fearful-visa-wait/2016/12/21/3809f69a-c7a5-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html