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
Unable to stay behind stage with Senate bill S.744 a marquee event, Rep. Goodlatte and Rep. Gowdy formally announced last week that the House of Representatives is preparing to introduce a series of smaller bills that focus on separate pieces of the immigration system. Soon, both chambers of Congress could be debating new immigration laws as they move through a complicated and emotionally-charged legislative process. The stage is set for progress on immigration reform, and following next week’s Congressional recess we’ll all be awaiting lights, camera, and action. With so much attention focused on reform, the prospects are still looking good.
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners
While the initial reaction to S.744 — the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan Senate immigration bill — was positive, the challenge facing the Senate when they come back from recess is the “mark-up” process. During the mark-up process, an extensive number of positive and negative amendments may be added to the bill. This is where the rubber hits the road. As a faith community, we must press our members of Congress to support amendments that uphold our values. Amendments should be fair, practical, and render accountability. We must press for an expansive path to citizenship and highlight the importance of protecting civil and human rights within each piece of the bill.
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
The appetite for reform will be tested in the days ahead as amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill introduced in the Senate, S.744, will be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee starting Thursday, May 9. A slew of amendments are expected and the hearings to discuss them will likely stretch into the third week of May. Each vote the senators take on this bill impacts the real lives of refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and their families and communities. The politics and momentum in Washington, D.C. are tilting towards an overhaul of our immigration system, let’s hope the seemingly inevitable reforms bend towards justice and fairness for all.
As always, LIRS is committed to bringing you the most up-to-date analysis on immigration reform. Click here to see how we’ve broken down S.744 in line with our principles on family unity, access to justice, ensuring the rights of U.S. citizen and immigrant workers, the roadmap to citizenship, and protection of refugees and asylees.
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 an interview 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!