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 20 de Enero.”
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:
A report was released last week showing that the Republicans in the House are starting to grapple with the question of legalization. The report, released by the National Foundation for American Policy, is an estimate of how many undocumented immigrants could qualify for an earned path to citizenship based on proposals being discussed in the House—up to 6.5 million, states the study. The details of the proposal remain ambiguous because a specific bill has yet to be offered. Those of us who strongly support a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans will undoubtedly be frustrated by what appears to be a half measure, but we must recognize the progress this represents. The willingness of Republicans to consider this aspect of immigration reform in a constructive way appears to be growing. We are no longer talking about “self-deportation” or simply allowing the status quo to remain. It is our job, as the faith community, to remind them that any proposal must reflect who we are as a nation and the values we share. We do not want to create a society of second-class citizens in our country. We want to respect the God-given dignity of each individual and the contributions they make to our communities, workforce, and economy. Reaping the economic benefits of immigration reform requires helping people come out of the shadows and allowing them to be full members of society.
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:
January continues to deliver positive indications for immigration reform efforts. Politicians and advocates for immigration reform are eagerly awaiting the set of immigration priorities that Speaker Boehner announced are forthcoming. At the White House, President Obama continues to stress passing commonsense immigration reform as a top priority for the year ahead. On Capitol Hill, members of Congress continue to act on issues facing refugees and migrants. Senator Durbin convened a hearing to review the grim situation facing Syrian refugees that was widely covered by the media and drew a packed house. Senator Murray and Representative Polis introduced legislation that encourage states to increase access to higher education for all students regardless of immigration status. Representatives Foster and Deutch introduced legislation increasing access to legal information for immigration detainees. If immigration activity remains at this pace throughout 2014, the odds of landing on a solution to our broken immigration system look good.
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.