The Week Ahead: Oct. 5-9

Communications Associate

October 5, 2015


“Overall, immigrants are integrating as fast or faster than immigrants did coming from Europe a century ago.”

– Mary C. Waters, Harvard sociologist and chair of a National Academies panel on immigrant integration, speaking Sept. 29 at a Forum event marking the 50th anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act


Refugees Drive Partisan Debate in Washington
While refugees and migrants continue to flee violence and unrest in Africa and the Middle East, Congress has used the humanitarian crisis to focus on partisan politics.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing last week in response to the administration’s plan to allow tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into the U.S., and on Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the Syrian refugee crisis and its alleged impact on the security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

In advance of last week’s Senate hearing, faith leaders sent letters to Congress and the administration, urging them to show compassion toward refugees and welcome them in larger numbers in the next fiscal year. While some members of Congress and presidential candidates may be looking to inflame the conversation, faith leaders and others across the country are demanding compassion in line with American values.

National Immigration Forum to Honor Leaders in Immigration
On Oct. 14 the National Immigration Forum will host its annual Keepers of the American Dream awards to honor individuals who embody the spirit of immigrant achievement, contribute significantly to the well-being of immigrants in the United States, and advocate for the value of immigrants and immigration to the nation.

This year’s honorees include Weili Dai, President and Co-Founder of Marvell Technology Group; Diane Portnoy, Founder and CEO of the Immigrant Learning Center; and Lorella Praeli, a DREAMer and immigrant rights advocate.

To register for the event, click here.

All times Eastern unless noted.

Monday, October 5
• 6:30 p.m. Professors Philip Schrag, Andrew Schoenholtz and Jaya Ramji-Nogales will discuss their research recently published in Lives in the Balance: Asylum Adjudication by the Department of Homeland Security. New York University School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall 206, 40 Washington Square South, New York City. To register for this event, click here.

Tuesday, October 6
• The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute hosts its annual Public Policy Conference Tuesday through Thursday.

Wednesday, October 7
• 10:30 a.m. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. 2141 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing also will be broadcast live online.
• 11 a.m. PT. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is holding an online seminar on U Visa adjustment and travel. To register, click here.
• 3 to 4:30 p.m. The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) and partners host “A Nation of Immigrants: Commemorating the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act and its Legacy in Re-defining American.” 339 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. To sign up click here. For more information contact Katrina Dizon Mariategue, 202-601-2968.

Thursday, October 8
• 12 p.m. Asad Asad and Jackie Hwang of the Harvard Sociology Department will hold a workshop: Mexico-U.S. Migration, Legal Status, and the Social Context of Indigenousness. William James Hall, Room 601, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA.

Saturday, October 10
• 10 a.m. CT. Neighborhood Centers Inc., NALEO Educational Fund and the City Of Houston Office of International Communities will host a Citizenship Assistance Workshop in English and Spanish. Lone Star College Kingwood, 20000 Kingwood Dr., Kingwood, TX. For more information, call 713-273-3707.
• 10 a.m. CT. Bonding Against Adversity will host a Citizenship Assistance Workshop in English and Spanish. Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 19222 Tomball Pkwy., Houston. For more information, call 281-799-9076.

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


FUSION: New study shows how the U.S. is, was, and always will be an immigrant nation
By John Walker
September 28, 2015
A new study examines how sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy have shaped the nation, and how immigrants will continue to play a central role for years to come.
The Pew Research Center reports that 59 million immigrants have come to the United States since the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. The vast majority of people who immigrated to the U.S. before 1965 were European, but 51% of those who came after have been Latin American; about a quarter have come from Asia.
As a result of these changes, the Hispanic-American population has risen from 4% in 1965 to 18% in 2015. The Asian-American population has experienced a similar increase, up from fewer than 1% in 1965 to 6% in 2015.
By 2065—a year when no group will constitute a racial or ethnic majority, according to Pew—nearly one in four Americans will be of Hispanic origin, and Asian-Americans will make up a 14% share of the overall population.
Read more here:

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: In 1965, A Conservative Tried To Keep America White. His Plan Backfired
By Tom Gjelten
October 3, 2015
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a new immigration law that would change the face of the nation. But that dramatic impact, ironically, was in good part the result of a major miscalculation by those who actually wanted to limit the bill’s effect.
The Immigration and Nationality Act, signed at the foot of the Statue of Liberty on Oct. 3, 1965, abolished the national origin quota system, under which immigrants were chosen on the basis of their race and ancestry. The quotas set aside tens of thousands of visas each year for immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, while many countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East were allocated barely 100 slots each. It was a blatantly discriminatory system.
Under the new law, immigrants were to be selected on the basis of their family connections in the United States and the skills and training they could offer, with all nationalities treated more or less equally.
Fifty years after its passage, it is clear the law definitively altered the complexion of the U.S. population. In 1965, the immigrant share of the population was at an all-time low. Eighty-five percent of the population was white, and 7 out of 8 immigrants were coming from Europe. By 2010, the share of the U.S. population born overseas had tripled, and 9 out of 10 immigrants were coming from outside Europe.
The law was enacted at the height of the civil rights movement, and although it was motivated by the desire to eliminate discrimination, it was largely overshadowed at the time by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Even its supporters saw its passage as largely a symbolic victory. “The bill that we sign today is not a revolutionary bill,” Johnson said at the Statue of Liberty. “It does not affect the lives of millions.”
Read more here:
Tom Gjelten’s new book on how the 1965 Immigration Act changed the country is A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story.

CREATORS SYNDICATE (Chavez Column): Trump’s Incredibly Shrinking America
By Linda Chavez
October 2, 2015
Donald Trump may have a reputation for making things bigger, but when it comes to his plans for the U.S., he wants to shrink it. He says his tax plan will spur economic growth to 6 percent a year — a level not seen in more than a decade. But it’s hard to imagine how he will do so given his signature issue, which is reducing immigration.
He has announced that he will remove 11.3 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S., and he hopes they will take along their American-born children who are minors. He also says he’ll stop admitting new legal immigrants and some temporary workers until every unemployed person living here now has a job, which would reduce the population by another million persons each year. He also announced this week that he will kick out any Syrian refugees admitted by the Obama administration in response to the international refugee crisis.
The effect of this reduction in U.S. population would be to reduce GDP by at least $1.6 trillion and to reduce the labor force by more than 11 million workers, according to a study by the conservative American Action Foundation (AAF). The result would be a massive contraction in the economy that would make the Great Recession we’ve just experienced look mild in comparison. And, of course, the plan to remove undocumented immigrants would come with a heavy price tag: AAF estimated $400 billion to $600 billion.
How exactly a President Trump would pay for his plan, he never tells us. Maybe he’ll “make Mexico pay” for it, just as he promises he’ll make Mexico pay for a 1,400-mile wall across its border. But the truth is, Americans would pay — big time — in lost jobs and higher prices.
The 11 million illegal immigrants Trump wants to remove own or rent homes, buy cars, food, clothing, TVs and other consumer goods, eat out at restaurants, buy services, and contribute in myriad ways to the economies of the communities in which they live.
Read more here:
Linda Chavez is the author of “An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal.” To find out more about Linda Chavez, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at