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.
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 also read “Reforma migratoria de 2013: “LA ACTUALIZACIÓN” para el lunes 18 de noviembre.”
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:
While most media outlets are consumed with writing immigration reform’s obituary, the Holy Spirit may be moving in surprising and inspiring ways. After all, this issue is about far more than politics. It is a moral issue affecting millions of people and countless families. Regardless of the news accounts, the push for reform remains strong. Last week a group of prominent evangelical leaders met with the President at the White House to talk about the faith community’s role in finding a way forward. The day before, near the steps of the U.S. Capitol, I joined leaders of pro-reform groups in fasting to highlight the 11 million undocumented immigrants who await action by the House. Recently, two undocumented young people approached House Speaker John Boehner and urged him to allow a vote on immigration reform. Boehner assured them that he was trying to find a way to move forward, yet hours later he told the press, “Frankly, I’ll make clear, we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.” Scripture says: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no” (Matthew 5:37). For months the American people have been told “maybe,” “soon,” and “eventually.” It is time for the House to address this issue in a substantive way that demonstrates they have a real path for fixing our broken immigration system.
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
Two powerful scenes in Washington, D.C. illustrate how strong and deep the desire for immigration reform runs throughout this land. On the National Mall, members of faith, labor, and immigrant rights organizations are fasting to draw attention to the moral underpinnings of welcoming immigrants. In the words of one fast participant, his hunger is not only for food but is “a hunger for an end to a system that creates such misery among those who come here to escape poverty and violence in search of the American Dream.” This plea for compassion and justice for immigrants was also heard in the voices of two teenagers who approached Speaker of the House John Boehner at a diner on Capitol Hill. The young girls spoke of their parents who face deportation as a consequence of political inaction on immigration reform. I pray that the bravery and courage shown in the actions of the fasters and the youth who demand a better immigration system can overcome the political morass that has bogged down needed reform for too long.
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Schizophrenic is probably the best word to describe the immigration reform debate in Washington in recent days. Speaker of the House John Boehner made big headlines recently by publicly stating to reporters that the House of Representatives does not intend to proceed to a conference with the Senate on immigration reform legislation. Hordes of reporters immediately rushed to declare that this latest statement signaled the end of the road for immigration reform prospects this year. Astute followers of immigration reform efforts will recognize that these death proclamations are not new, and are not accurate. In fact, on the opposite end of the political spectrum, President Obama has been spending time in the Oval Office discussing how to achieve immigration reform with business and faith leaders. While some politicians are leaning in to the issue and others are backing away, the American people continue to demonstrate that they want an immigration system that unites families, allows businesses to thrive, and lives up to our American ideals. Under our Constitution, We the People have the ultimate say, and we overwhelmingly want just and compassionate reform.
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!