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:
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The passage of S. 744 by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week was a major victory for faith and community leaders advocating for compassionate reform. We know that as the bill moves to the Senate floor in June, there will be a tough battle to ensure that comprehensive reform continues to include protections for vulnerable migrants, family unity, access to justice, and a roadmap to citizenship. In spite of the challenges ahead, we will pray for wisdom and courage for our leaders on both sides of the aisle as they seek humane and commonsense solutions to our broken immigration system in the weeks to come.
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners
Evangelicals are hitting the airwaves to advocate for immigration reform. This past Thursday, the Evangelical Immigration Table announced a quarter-million-dollar advertising buy as part of the group’s “#Pray4Reform” campaign. Radio ads will be airing nationwide, with more extensive coverage in a dozen key states. Additionally, billboards were purchased in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas in locations near congressional offices. The ad campaign is the latest component in the group’s broader push to mobilize evangelicals in support of immigration reform and help legislators understand the moral issues involved with this debate. While many special interests are trying to wield influence in Washington, the radio advertisements and billboards will ensure that members of Congress hear the message back home—where it matters most.
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
The Senate was on recess this week, equipping advocates with time to prepare for the moment S. 744 hits the Senate floor in June. When the floor debate begins, the entire bill could change as senators are invited to propose any amendments to the bill’s current earned roadmap to citizenship, improvements to family reunification processes, and protections for refugees and asylum seekers. Our hopes for the floor debate to protect the current bill and seek modest improvements, particularly for families. It is sure to be an eventful three weeks as the Senate debate continues.
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!