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 read the Spanish version at “Reforma migratoria de 2013: “LA ACTUALIZACIÓN” para el lunes 25 de noviembre.”
Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform? Here’s what the panelists have to say:
Mary Giovagnoli, Director, Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council:
What a difference a year makes! At this time last year, following elections in which immigration played a deciding factor in many elections, we were anticipating that maybe, just maybe, immigration reform could happen. As we start to reflect on the year, we need to give thanks for how far we’ve come – the passage of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate, bipartisan support for comprehensive reform in the House, and the tremendous outpouring of support for reform across the political and ideological spectrum! While there’s a very long way to go, we have built a huge community committed to the idea that a fair, humane, and just immigration system is not only possible, but will bring significant benefits to individuals and the country as a whole. I’m thankful for this amazing support that exists for immigration reform. And should you need additional help in bringing others along over Thanksgiving turkey and pie, go to immigrationimpact.com and check out our blog posts on “talking turkey” about immigration.
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners:
As of this Monday, I will have been fasting with the #Fast4Families: Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship event for 14 days. I began my fast with this prayer: “Holy, holy, holy God. Forgive us. Break our willfully sinful posture toward the most sacred unit in your creation: the family. Move our nation and its Congress to repentance. And give us your peace.” God has certainly made my heart more sensitive to the cries of immigrant families over the past 14 days. In my first two days in the fasting tent on the National Mall, I participated in two evening vigils. During the first, I listened to an African woman sing a song in French. Not knowing the French language, I didn’t know what she was saying. But in the midst of her singing I began to weep and couldn’t stop. I heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit whisper to my soul: “Keep going. Don’t stop until I tell you to.” The next morning I decided to keep going until God tells me to stop. That evening a young boy about 8 years old stood on a chair because he was too short to be seen if he stood on the ground. And he sang a song he wrote about the day ICE took his uncle away: “Why are you leaving us?,” he belted in Spanish. “When will we see you again?” I was heart-broken. More than anything else, the #Fast4Families has reminded me of what this is really all about. Immigration is not merely a political or economic issue. It is a moral issue. It is about families. Please join me in praying both for all those who are fasting and for Speaker Boehner who has the power to bring immigration reform up for a vote in the House of Representatives. May God grant our leaders the courage to put families ahead of politics.
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
As the nation prepares for our annual Thanksgiving feast, there are many migrant and refugee families who are still waiting and praying desperately for immigration reform. The case for updating our laws is solid. Without a fair and compassionate immigration system families suffer separation from their loved ones, businesses suffer lack of talent they need to thrive, and communities and congregations suffer from seeing their friends and neighbors fearful and marginalized. The solution is not out of reach; the House of Representatives must move forward this calendar year immigration reform that address the myriad shortcomings of our current immigration laws.
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:
We should all be thankful for the diversity and richness that migrants and refugees contribute to our nation. The House of Representatives should do what they can to embrace and foster our identity as a nation of immigrants rather than continuing to stall on the critical issue of immigration reform. The Senate has done this, the President continues to call for this, and the people are increasingly taking action in the streets and this week on the National Mall to demand this. Our prayers are with the millions of people this week of Thanksgiving who are fasting, hoping, and wishing for a new set of immigration laws founded in fairness and compassion.
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.