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.
New! Don’t forget that you can bust the myths of immigration reform with our hot-off-the-virtual-presses infographic that debunks the most widely propagated misinformation on this topic!
Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform? Here’s what the panelists have to say:
Mary Giovagnoli, Director, Immigration Policy Center
August recess has begun and with it comes the opportunity to reach out to Members of Congress in your community. The Immigration Policy Center has released a new guide for answering the toughest questions on immigration reform, which can arm you with the facts you need to have a good dialogue within your community over the next month. While we can give you facts, the key to using this guide and other IPC resources is to enter into an agreement to have real conversations about reform. Whether you are speaking to your Member of Congress, anti-immigration folks, or colleagues, trying to figure out what motivates people is key. For those who oppose reform, try to find out why. For those who support some but not all pieces of an immigration reform package, explore how interconnected the different strands of immigration are. And if you are on the same side, but can’t agree on the solution, step back and figure out what binds you together and focus on that. Passion and compassion, empathy and understanding are as important to this conversation as the facts. This is the month to engage and grow—together.
Ivone Guillen, Immigration Campaign and Communications Associate, Sojourners
As the August recess begins this week for Congress, people of faith can be encouraged knowing that while they advocate for common sense and humane immigration reform at home with their legislators, they are also supported by pro-reform groups who have been mobilizing in Washington and echoing the same message. The prospects for reform seem to be surging as support among conservatives grows across the ideological spectrum. In an unexpected move last week, GOP donors sent a letter to Republican members of Congress urging them to take action to fix our broken immigration system, acknowledging that “immigrants are often entrepreneurial, family-minded, and guided by faith.” A recent CBS poll shows that 75% of evangelical Christians support an earned pathway to citizenship. As people of faith prepare to make their voices heard at town halls, in-district visits, op-eds, and other activities, they should feel confident that a ripple effect is taking place as more people speak up and take action. Given their catalytic role in this movement, faith communities should continue reaching out to their representatives during the August recess and beyond until reform is enacted.
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
While last week saw some positive movement for immigration reform, unfortunately, some voices in Congress have descended into inflammatory and hurtful rhetoric about migrants. The month of August will be an important time for the people to speak to the politicians and insist on a roadmap to full citizenship as the centerpiece of fair and humane immigration reform. As two leading voices in Congress have said, there is a good chance of convincing the House of Representatives to pass immigration reform this year. It’s up to all of us, both citizens and aspiring Americans, to demand that this chance become a reality.
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Members of Congress are home on a five-week recess, but that doesn’t mean they will avoid the issue of immigration reform until they return to the Hill in September. In fact, Sen. McCain (R-AZ) publicly urged supporters of immigration reform last week to communicate with their representatives during the recess. Sen. McCain, who is an author of the Senate’s immigration reform bill, and Rep. Becerra (D-CA) shared the stage to discuss the importance of citizenship in America. Both lawmakers predicted that immigration reform will succeed this year and both pointed to the plight of undocumented men, women, and children as an urgent moral and financial incentive to fix the broken immigration system. Sen. McCain pointed out that successive waves of immigration have made America the greatest nation on earth. Rep. Becerra stated that the American people have been ahead of politicians for years in supporting immigration reform.
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!