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
The House of Representatives now faces a difficult choice — to support solutions that have garnered widespread support across the nation and bipartisan votes in the Senate or to become an obstacle to achieving real immigration reform. People of faith across the country are scheduling in-district visits with their representatives, attending town hall meetings, hosting events and writing to their local newspapers. For the future of our nature, the decisions made in the House must be guided by the common good. The recent Fourth of July holiday is a powerful reminder of our nation’s highest ideals of hope, opportunity, and compassion. Passing immigration reform is the chance for us to live up to them.
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
After the fireworks and the barbeques, when representatives return from recess to their offices, the House of Representatives will have difficult questions to answer about changes in our immigration laws. The principles of our Founding Fathers, often cited over the Fourth of July holiday, may just hold the answer — all people are created equal and e pluribus unum. Even the text of the Declaration of Independence acknowledges “the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.” America is a nation of immigrants and thus deserves an immigration system that upholds those founding principles as well as the fundamental value of family unity. Now the House of Representatives has the opportunity to deliver humane and just reform in the tradition of this country’s founders.
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Discharge petitions. The Hastert Rule. These and other snippets of arcane congressional speak are echoing around Washington as pundits and political strategists predict what comes next following the Senate’s overwhelming vote to pass their comprehensive immigration reform legislation last week. Members of the House of Representatives are hearing more plain talk from their constituents during the Independence Day recess. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) chairs the House Judiciary Committee that has produced four immigration bills in recent weeks, none including a roadmap to citizenship or opportunities for migrant families to reunite. “Why not a pathway to citizenship?” he was asked by a teenager whose parents are undocumented, during a town hall meeting in his district days before the Fourth of July. Rep. Goodlatte responded that “maybe” immigration legislation could include a roadmap to citizenship for “someone like you.” It’s too early to say if that augers well for fair and compassionate immigration reform bills in the House.
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!