Week Ending June 14
This week in immigration reform: the Senate begins debate on the immigration bill S. 744 – stay tuned to NCLR’s blog and Twitter feed for the latest updates; NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía publishes an op-ed in her hometown newspaper describing the benefits S. 744 would bring to Kansas; NCLR staff and Affiliates meet with their members of Congress, deliver postcards, participate in rallies, publish op-eds, and otherwise support the fight for reform in the Senate and House; and new polls show strong support for S. 744 among voters in 29 states. NCLR worked to keep the community informed by weighing in across the media landscape, with staff quoted in five stories on immigration reform.
- Senate begins debate on S. 744. On Tuesday June 11 the Senate officially voted to begin debate on the immigration bill S. 744, a foreseeable result given that Senate leaders Reid (D–NV) and McConnell (R–KY) had previously signaled that these initial procedural votes would receive sufficient support to get the debate started. What did surprise and disappoint supporters of reform were Senator Kirk’s (R–IL) two “no” votes on the procedural votes. Senator Kirk joined a small minority of senators that includes staunch immigration reform opponents such as Senators Vitter (R–LA), Sessions (R–AL), and Grassley (R–IA) in an effort to block the bill from moving forward.
- The good news is that senators from both parties voted overwhelmingly in favor (85 to 14) to move the bill forward, and a final vote on passage is expected sometime in the coming weeks. Meanwhile Sens. Reid (D-NV) and Leahy (D–VT) are working with Republican leadership to determine which amendments will come up each day, making for what will be a fluid and variable process.Amendments are being filed throughout the process and we are analyzing them now, so please check NCLR’s blog and Twitter feed for the latest updates. We will also be sending out action alerts by email and text message on some of these amendments to ensure that senators are hearing from their constituents on potentially critical changes to the bill. Text REFORM to 62571 to join our mobile action network and receive these alerts.
- NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía: Immigration bill good for Kansas. Passing the Senate’s immigration reform bill would make Kansas stronger, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía wrote in the June 12 edition of The Kansas City Star. Murguía, a native Kansan, noted in her op-ed how the emerging Hispanic community in Kansas – now over 301,000 strong – makes significant contributions to expanding the state’s economy, a particularly important fact during these last several years as the state has struggled to recover from a difficult recession. Although most Latinos in Kansas are residents or citizens, Murguia observed, the Senate’s immigration bill would bring substantial economic benefits to Kansas by allowing the state’s undocumented Latino residents to come out of the shadows and contribute even more to building a better Kansas.
- NCLR and Affiliates in action.
Florida: NCLR Board Chair Jorge Plasencia spoke at press conference in Miami on Thursday, June 13 alongside other civic leaders and DREAMers in support of the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill S. 744.
NCLR Board Chair Jorge Plasencia speaking at press conference at Freedom Tower in Miami Thursday, June 13 alongside other civic leaders and DREAMers in support of the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill S. 744.
California: NCLR’s California office and NCLR Affiliate TODEC Legal Center joined together and met with Senator Feinstein’s (D-CA) Los Angeles staff on June 14. NCLR and TODEC thanked the Senator for her vote in favor of the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee and her vote to move the bill forward to debate on the Senate floor, and urged the Senator to oppose any amendments that would make the road to legalization and citizenship more arduous than it already is.
Idaho: NCLR Affiliate Community Council of Idaho participated in a rally outside Rep. Labrador’s (R-ID 01) Meridian office on Monday June 10, urging Rep. Labrador work with his colleagues in the House to deliver immigration reform with a real road to legalization and citizenship. Rep. Labrador came out and met with the group, assuring them that he has not abandoned efforts for immigration reform despite his recent departure from the bipartisan House group working on immigration legislation.
Meanwhile, the NCLR Action Fund generated 251 calls to Senator Crapo (R-ID) on June 10.
Maine: The NCLR Action Fund generated 252 calls to Senator Collins (R-ME) on June 6.
New York: The New York Times published an op-ed featuring the story of a client of NCLR Affiliate Make the Road New York in the July 13 edition. As we get ready to celebrate Father’s Day, the op-ed illustrates the toll that our broken immigration system takes on families and children who are separated from their fathers.
North Carolina: NCLR Affiliate Latin American Coalition (LAC) teamed up with a group of business leaders from North Carolina and met with Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) in Washington, DC on June 12.
On Thursday June 20 LAC will be leading a march and rally for immigration reform in Charlotte, NC. See LAC’s Facebook page for details and to RSVP.
LAC Executive Director Jess George (second from left), Senator Kay Hagan (center), and business leaders from North Carolina meeting with the Senator in support of immigration reform (photo: Latin American Coalition).
Texas: NCLR’s Texas office and Affiliates organized 48 leaders in their communities this week to call Senator Cornyn’s (R-TX) DC office in support of reform with a real road to legalization and citizenship. 24 leaders gathered by the NCLR Texas office, 18 by NCLR Affiliate Southwest Key, and 6 by Affiliate START Center called staffers and encouraged the Senator to oppose amendments that would impede or make it impossible to complete the road to citizenship.
Utah: NCLR Affiliate Comunidades Unidas delivered over 200 postcards in support of CIR to Senators Hatch (R-UT) and Lee (R-UT) on June 6, urging both the Senators to vote for S. 744.
The NCLR Action Fund followed up on Comunidades Unidas’ efforts by generating 256 calls into Hatch’s office on June 7.
Washington, DC: NCLR staff met with the offices of Senators Rubio (R-FL), Heller (R-NV), Representatives Yarmuth (D-KY 03), Ryan (R-WI 01), and Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA 12) this week.
NCLR Affiliates: To share your recent meetings on immigration with your members of Congress, please fill out the report-back form on our website.
- NCLR goes before the House Judiciary Committee. Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Director of Immigration and Civic Engagement at NCLR, testified on Thursday June 13 at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on H.R. 2278, the “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act.” Martínez-De-Castro’s testimony focused on the ways that this legislation will expand many of the wasteful and misguided enforcement policies that have caused fear and insecurity in communities across the country. For more details about the hearing please visit the House Judiciary Committee website.
- New polls show voters in 29 states strongly support S. 744, road to citizenship. A series of polls conducted in 29 states show strong support for the Senate’s immigration bill S. 744, and find that constituents are more likely to vote for an elected official who supports immigration reform with a road to citizenship. The polls, sponsored by the Alliance for Citizenship, Partnership for a New American Economy and Republicans for Immigration Reform and conducted by Harper Polling and Public Policy Polling, find an average of 68% of likely voters polled across the 29 states support S. 744, 72% support a bill that includes a tough but fair path to citizenship like that in the Senate bill, and 57% of polled voters are more likely to vote for an elected official who supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.
- President Obama hosts leaders from across the country to call for action on immigration reform. On June 11, President Obama was joined by a diverse coalition of leaders from the business, faith, law enforcement, and civil rights communities at the White House at an event to urge the Senate to pass S.744. Among the group of leaders were Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR, and the 2012 NCLR Capital Awards recipient, Paul Bridges, Mayor of Uvalda, Georgia.
- NCLR released a new graphic this week detailing the huge costs that proposed amendments to S. 744 would impose upon families if adopted by the Senate. Please share this graphic with your networks and on Facebook (see second graphic below).
NCLR also published a new “Truth in Immigration” infographic explaining that immigrants are helping Medicare survive by paying more into Medicare than they take out (see graphic immediately below). Share this infographic on Facebook, and check the “Truth in Immigration” web page frequently for updates.