Immigration reform is seeing a rejuvenated push. The question is, will it become a reality in 2014?
Here to keep you up-to-date on the debate and legislative progress 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. Media representatives who wish to speak with one of the panelists, please click here. If you would like to read previous editions of THE UPDATE, please click here. You can read the Spanish version at “Reforma migratoria de 2014: ‘LA ACTUALIZACIÓN’ para el lunes 10 de Marzo.”
Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform?
Brittney Nystrom, Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:
Efforts to pass immigration reform in Congress have led to a burst of creative thinking. For example, speculation abounds regarding the possible use of a “discharge petition” to force members of the House to take a vote on immigration reform legislation. Speaker Boehner tried out some new talking points on immigration reform this week, insisting he is “still working with the President, working with my colleagues in a bipartisan way, and the Congress to move this issue along.” While the government considers ways to move forward on the question of reform, poll numbers indicate that the American people prioritize finding a solution for the undocumented over border security and support reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship for the undocumented. Hopefully, the creative thinkers will discover a way for Congress to do the will of the people and pass fair and just immigration reform this year.
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners:
The Fast for Families began as a simple spiritual act- a cry from the hearts of a few faith leaders, labor leaders, and immigration activists. Fed up with the intransigence of polarized politics, we turned to God. We prayed. We refrained from food and drink, consuming only water. Last week the church entered the Lenten season, and with it, Fast for Families has continued to press for just immigration reform by bringing the fast to the nation.
Two buses are traveling through approximately 155 cities in more than 75 congressional districts across the northern and southern United States. In each district, the fasters will be met by faith, labor, and immigration reform leaders who have committed to fast each Wednesday through the Lenten season. I can think of no better way to follow Jesus during this Lenten season than to stand with immigrant families. Now is the time for common-sense immigration reform. Now is the time for Congress to do right by 11 million of the most vulnerable people in our land. Now is the time for all of us to fast!
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
Here at the beginning of Lent, many of us are reflecting deeply on Jesus’ teachings in the gospels. In summary, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” You may remember that last fall, several courageous and determined individuals fasted on the National Mall to draw attention to the consequences for families and communities of our broken immigration system. Their effort, called Fast for Families, attracted national attention and visits by the President and the First Lady. Now the effort is launching a bus tour across America to underscore the moral urgency to pass commonsense immigration reform in 2014. The fasters’ message to Congress is bold and simple – now is the time for compassionate and humane immigration reform; now is the time to love the migrant and the refugee as we love ourselves.
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.