The Week Ahead September 29-October 3

September 28, 2014

“You don’t have to draw an indirect line between the issue of immigration and the biblical text. It’s explicit. It’s explicit in the Old Testament, and it’s explicit in the New Testament… Our (evangelical) community has been immersed in a beautiful engagement with immigrant brothers and sisters of faith. The evangelical community is more diverse today because of immigration to our country. We’ve been immersed with many cultures—seeing that has brought the evangelical community to this point.”

— Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter speaking at the annual Religion Newswriters Association conference


Short Term Measures Don’t Solve Broken Immigration System
Last week, the Department of Defense announced a military path to legal status for some young undocumented immigrants, but in reality the measure does little for the majority of the DREAMer population. Meanwhile, federal authorities are tightening their standards for future asylum claims in the wake of the humanitarian crisis caused by the arrival of a flood of unaccompanied minor children, many of whom still do not have lawyers to represent them in immigration court. ICE also announced the opening of a family detention center in Dilley, Texas is planned for November, news that was met by criticism from a broad range of immigration groups.

All the while, businesses and in turn our economy continue to suffer from our broken immigration system, with companies like Microsoft saying that without changes to our H1B visas system, they may have to look at foreign expansion for future needs. And some churches are taking matters into their own hands and joining the growing sanctuary movement to shelter undocumented immigrants facing deportation proceedings.

CALENDAR: Please visit our Events page to find this week’s immigration-related events.

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:

MUST READ:NATIONAL JOURNAL (Walsh Op-Ed): How Boston Encourages U.S. Citizenship
September 24, 2014
My parents immigrated to the United States from Ireland in the 1950s, but it was more than three decades before my mother, Mary, became a U.S. citizen. Like millions of others, my mother had to navigate a complex, challenging, and intimidating citizenship process. Moving forward through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen was difficult for her, and it remains difficult for millions of legal permanent residents today.
Right now, only about 10 percent of the nation’s 8 million legal permanent residents apply for citizenship each year. Here in Boston, immigrants make up 27 percent of our population. Of these immigrants, tens of thousands are eligible for citizenship but have yet to become citizens.
Barriers to becoming a citizen are high. Reliable legal assistance can be expensive and difficult to find. Navigating government forms and sticking with the process can be intimidating. For others, the $680 application cost can be an insurmountable financial burden. Also, some individuals need to get comfortable with the idea of permanently giving up citizenship of their country of origin, especially if they have family and friends who still reside there.
Read more:
Martin J. Walsh is the mayor of Boston. Prior to his election in 2013, Walsh served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for 16 years.