HEADLINES: Immigration

Published On: Donate

button_icon_immigration_headlinesIn last Sunday’s New York Times, President Obama announced his intentions to quickly push for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.  The bill will be comprehensive, resisting calls by some Republicans to take a piecemeal approach. According to the article, President Obama is expected to lay out his plan in the coming weeks, perhaps in the State of the Union address early next month.  The plan would include payment of back taxes, and would “impose nationwide verification of legal status for all newly hired workers,” as well as provisions for STEM immigrants and a guest worker program.  [New York Times]

Unlike many of her current cabinet colleagues, Janet Napolitano will stay on as Secretary of Homeland Security during President Obama’s second term.  Napolitano has presided over enormous increases in immigration enforcement and immigration activists believe that Napolitano’s tenure will send a strong message to skeptics that “comprehensive reform won’t pose a danger to national security,” and her “strength will lie in attracting moderate Democrats and Republicans who might be on the fence about supporting an immigration bill.” [ABC/Univision]

While some immigration activists are worried that pending debates on gun control and the debt ceiling have dampened the momentum of immigration reform, the immigration lobby is already quickly moving to exert its influence in the run up to the legislative battle over reform.  Key stakeholders such as the LA Mayor Villaraigosa, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Evangelical Immigration Table, and the national Mayor’s conference are all having major events supporting immigration reform this week.  Additionally, the Super PAC Republicans for Immigration Reform and many major national corporations are beginning to enact their lobbying influence on the issue.  Key anti-immigration players are also gearing up, as Lamar Smith is hosting a summit on the danger of amnesties.  [Sunlight Foundation]

The coalition of supporters for comprehensive immigration reform is broader than ever, and Evangelical Christians are positioning themselves at the forefront of the movement, preparing for the “largest ever grassroots push on immigration.”  The coalition, the Evangelical Immigration Table, is attempting to reach new audiences by steeping their message in their faith tradition, as “pastors are being urged to use their sermons to speak about the need to help ‘strangers’ and relate immigration reform to Christian values.”  Hispanic Evangelicals are a growing demographic, as a new Pew Foundation study found that nearly 20 percent of Hispanics are Protestant.  The new campaign will reach more than 100,000 churches. [CNN]

Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, home to the largest urban population of Latinos in America, spoke in Washington DC this past week, calling for swift and comprehensive immigration reform.  Villaraigosa said, “We’ve created an immigration system that is long on enforcement but short on opportunity … a system that capitalizes on millions of undocumented men and women but then refuses to extend them the basic rights and privileges most of us take for granted.”  Villaraigosa will also speak to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, urging local government to exert its influence in Washington to call for CIR. [LA Times]

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