Immigration reform: Will we see it in 2013? That’s the burning question on everyone’s mind this year.
A complicated debate and legislative process lie ahead. Here to decipher the headlines for you every Monday is THE UPDATE, a weekly blog series whose panel of experts will analyze how recent events affect the prospects for real reform. The panelists will offer an insider’s view of what’s happening right now on Capitol Hill, bolstered by their decades of experience with immigration reform and the legislative process.
This week’s edition appears in both English and Spanish.
Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform? Here’s what the panelists have to say:
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners
People of faith are continuing the call for commonsense immigration reform by attending town hall meetings in their home districts this month. It seems that some legislators aren’t getting the message. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) recently stood by his unconscionable statement about DREAM Act-eligible students on NBC’s Meet the Press. He has claimed that: “For every [undocumented immigration eligible for the DREAM act] who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weight 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” This inflammatory statement contributes nothing constructive to our current political debate over immigration reform and was widely denounced by both faith and political leaders. Rev. Beau Underwood, Director of Campaigns and Advocacy at Sojourners, penned a critique that called out King’s appalling remarks as “a failure in moral leadership.” Sojourners has also launched a petition to tell Rep. Steve King to end his attacks on immigrants. August recess represents one of the most beautiful things about our democracy: it is the time when the people’s voices have the chance to be heard by the leaders they elected to represent them in Washington. It is the time for honest dialogue, listening to one another, and earnest action to craft a better world. Our nation needs leaders who will work together to fix our broken immigration system. Bombastic rhetoric may draw headlines, but it doesn’t help solve our problems.
Folabi Olagbaju, National Grassroots Director, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Last week, LIRS, working in partnership with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, invited congregations across the nation to sign up and participate in an interfaith 40 Days of Fasting, Prayer and Action for Immigration Reform. This national initiative is part of our interfaith coalition effort to keep the pressure on Congress to pass compassionate immigration reform legislation after the August recess. The campaign runs from September 8 to October 18. Information can be found at the 40 Days Fast Action for Immigration Reform website.
THE UPDATE will appear every Monday until the dust settles on the legislative battle over comprehensive immigration reform. If you wish to raise your voice for fair reform, please visit our Action Center. You can also learn more about the issues by reading two interviews with someone personally impacted by America’s broken immigration system, Jessica Colotl. Also, don’t forget that you can subscribe to this blog by adding your email address to the box at the top left of this page!