Week Ending February 28, 2014
This week in immigration reform: members of Congress continue calling for immigration reform legislation; businesses, faith leaders, and an Arizona sheriff write Congressional leadership, urging action on reform; states around the country pass or consider smart immigration bills; and NCLR releases another graphic in a series that refutes the excuses offered by House Republicans for their inaction on reform. NCLR kept the community informed as always this week, with staff quoted in the Associated Press, CBS DFW, The Gate News, and the Burnt Orange Report.
—Members of Congress continue to call for immigration reform legislation. Following positive comments on the prospects of reform by Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.), RNCC chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) at the end of last week, this week saw members of Congress continue pushing for Speaker Boehner and House Republican leadership to get working on immigration reform legislation.
Republican Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) published an op-ed in Roll Call this Wednesday where he described immigration reform as in line with conservative priorities, noting that reform would not only reduce state, local, and national deficits, but would add around 14,000 new jobs to every Congressional District.
Fellow California Republican Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) offered his own op-ed urging Congress to act on immigration reform, arguing that the country’s agricultural sector cannot function without changes to our immigration system.
These points were echoed in op-eds by Reps. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).
–Tools You Can Use: Letters and op-eds from businesses, sheriff, and faith leaders urge action on reform. Business, law enforcement, and faith leaders continued to pressure Congress to act on immigration reform this week.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a letter, signed by 636 businesses and business organizations, calling on Congress and the Administration to get moving on immigration reform. Check out the letter to see if business groups in your community have signed on and could be a partner in advocating for reform. Please contact John Herrick at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to strategize around building or strengthening your local coalition.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik published an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star this past Sunday calling for immigration reform to be passed this year. Without reform, the 50-year law-enforcement veteran argued, undocumented individuals will not trust law enforcement enough to report crimes or serve as witnesses, and our neighborhoods will be less safe as a result. Dupnik also cautioned against proposals that would burden state and local police with enforcing the federal government’s immigration laws and thus alienate law enforcement from the communities they serve.
Finally, Catholic bishops teamed up with evangelical leaders in a joint letter imploring Congress to pass immigration reform legislation this year.
–Not content to wait on Congress, states work on immigration legislation of their own. While House Republican leadership produces only ill-founded excuses and fails to do anything meaningful on immigration reform, states around the country are passing or working on measures that will boost their economies and recognize the contributions and potential of immigrant residents.
Wednesday, Feb. 26 witnessed the signing into law of the Washington State DREAM Act, a measure that will allow undocumented students who meet income and residency requirements to access state-based financial aid. The proposal passed the state House and Senate with large bipartisan majorities.
Other states, including Florida and Tennessee, are considering tuition-equity measures that would allow qualifying undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities and colleges.
–Another NCLR “Reality Check” graphic refutes House Republican excuses for doing nothing on reform. NCLR released another graphic this week challenging House Republican leadership’s excuses for failing to act on immigration reform. When they claim that they can’t work on immigration reform because President Obama hasn’t enforced immigration laws, it’s time for a reality check: in 2012, the Obama Administration spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement – more than was spent on the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, and U.S. Marshals combined.
NCLR and Affiliates in action.
- California: The NCLR Action Fund supported the Fast for Families caravan this week by organizing partners and NCLR Affiliates to follow the fasters as they traveled throughout Southern California and advocated for immigration reform.