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 3 de Febrero.”
Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform? Here’s what the panelists have to say:
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:
Talk of immigration reform is now positioned front and center in the House of Representatives. President Obama first nudged reform of our immigration laws forward during his State of the Union address. His mention of finding a bipartisan solution drew fervent applause from House leadership and a standing ovation from many lawmakers in attendance. A few days later, overhauling our outdated immigration laws was a key topic of the annual retreat of the House Republican Conference. It is widely rumored that deliberation at the retreat will center around a set of proposed principles intended to guide debate on immigration reform. That’s a lot of talk about our immigration laws. We expect action to follow. We’re eager to help shape the political chatter around immigration into fair and humane reforms that welcome migrants and refugees to our nation.
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
Politicians in Washington, D.C. continue to debate when and how to achieve immigration reform and the role migrants and refugees play in America. As a person of faith who walks alongside migrants and refugees, I remind our elected officials that all men and women have dignity and are created in God’s image. Legislative proposals now pending in Congress would separate families and increase detention and deportations of migrants and refugees now living in the United States. We need alternative proposals that welcome the newcomer and honor our tradition as a nation of immigrants. I was encouraged to hear Speaker Boehner describe the current immigration system as “unfair,” and acknowledge it was “time to deal with it.” Doing the right thing can be hard, and may not be politically popular, but welcoming strangers and keeping families together are principles that should not be up for debate.
Ivone Guillen, Immigration Campaigns and Communications Associate, Sojourners:
Late last week, the House Republicans released their much anticipated standards for immigration reform. By doing so, they offered an overview of their priorities and approach in fixing our broken immigration system. This is an encouraging sign that demonstrates a serious commitment to tackling this issue, but many questions remain and details will need to be fleshed out. For example, the principles indicate support for broad legalization for undocumented immigrants and a path to citizenship for DREAMers, but leaves open the question of citizenship for other aspiring Americans. The real test for Speaker Boehner will be transforming these principles into legislation that results in a workable, compassionate, and fair immigration policy for our nation.
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.