The Week Ahead: Jan. 9-13
January 9, 2017
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We’re not here to deport [undocumented immigrants]. That’s not what my job is. I don’t view that as my job. My job is to protect everybody that is here. Unreported crime is huge in places where there are undocumented immigrants, and that’s not right, that’s not fair … They’re human beings. They need to be protected, and they need to work with us.”
— Volusia County, Florida, Sheriff Mike Chitwood, Jan. 4
Hearings This Week Should Elicit Immigration Questions
With a slew of Cabinet confirmation hearings this week and the new Congress beginning to craft legislation, lawmakers have the opportunity to set the tone on immigration for the coming months.
Beginning Tuesday morning the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) for U.S. attorney general. Members should address his track record on immigration while in the Senate and whether he could be fair toward immigrants while leading the Department of Justice.
Later in the day, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will consider retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly for Homeland Security Secretary. Important questions include his stances on border security, interior enforcement and naturalization.
At the same time, members of Congress are expected to continue to introduce legislation that addresses various aspects of immigration.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) may soon reintroduce the BRIDGE Act, which would continue to protect young immigrants including those currently eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Through the appropriations process, members of Congress will likely discuss the costs of a border wall proposed by President-elect Donald Trump. Rather than the American taxpayer footing the bill for border security measures, Congress should look to other revenue sources such as requiring undocumented immigrants to register for legal status, pay fines and fees, and pass criminal background checks.
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
WASHINGTON POST (Guo Post): If someone doesn’t like immigrants, ask them this question
By Jeff Guo
January 6, 2016
For all of the ruckus over anchor babies and border walls and mass deportation, Americans know little about the nation’s immigrants.
Half of the public believes that immigrants make crime worse, when data shows they are actually more law-abiding than the native-born. Fifty-nine percent complain that immigrants aren’t learning English fast enough, when in fact they are more fluent than past immigrants.
Despite fact check after fact check, these false stereotypes dominate. A new study shows that Americans wildly overestimate not only the number of immigrants in the country but also the number of immigrants who are in jail and the number of immigrants who can’t speak English.
It illustrates one of the ironies of the Information Age. At a time when the facts have never been more at hand, people are still stuck inside their own fictions.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: This California Republican is hoping he’ll have more luck with his immigration reform idea under Trump
By Sarah D. Wire
January 9, 2016
Rep. Jeff Denham has been at odds with his own party’s leadership on immigration reform before, but he’s trying again with this Congress, hoping a single comment from the president-elect is a sign his idea might have a chance.
The Turlock Republican wants Congress to allow people who were brought to the country illegally as children to have the option to become citizens through military service.
President-elect Donald Trump made deporting millions of people in the country illegally a central part of his campaign, but during NBC’s “Commander in Chief Forum” in September, Trump indicated that immigrants who serve in the U.S. military could possibly be allowed to become legal residents.
“I could see myself working that out, absolutely,” Trump said after an audience member asked about the idea. “Military is a very special thing.”