This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending May 30


Week Ending May 30, 2014

This week in immigration reform: Latino leaders unveil score cards evaluating all 435 Representatives, President Obama asks Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to delay announcement of findings from review of immigration enforcement policies until the end of the summer; the House adopts an anti-immigrant amendment to the CJS appropriations bill; Rep. Gutierrez along with other members supportive of immigration reform hold a press conference calling on the House Republican leadership to address reform now.

–Latino Organizations issue National Immigration Score Cards to House members. Last WednesdayNCLR, Mi Familia Vota, LCLAA, LULAC, Voto Latino, and the Hispanic Federationreleased preliminary score card ratings for all 435 House members. A final National Immigration Score Card will be issued in the summer and the results will be delivered to Latino communities and other interested parties across the U.S. House members also received a letter notifying them that they can improve their scores before the final score card is released by passing immigration reform with an earned path to citizenship. The score card ratings to date are based on immigration related House votes that have been taken during the 113th Congress. The failure of House leaders to call for a floor vote on comprehensive immigration reform has brought down the scores of many members. You can help us hold your representatives accountable by tweeting at them using the hashtag #CIRScores or you can use the following suggested tweets: Time is running out! @HouseGOP Leadership have until Summer to act on #immigrationreform to improve their #CIRScores; Join us in demanding House members to act on #immigrationreform; Too many families are torn apart each day #CIRScores. You can also call your Representative to say that you want a vote on immigration reform.

–President Obama asks Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to delay review of immigration enforcement policies until the end of summer. On Tuesday, senior White House officials said President Obama was looking to give Representatives space to pass immigration reform by delaying the release of Jeh Johnson’s review of current enforcement policies. While the Department of Homeland security will continue working on the review, the results will be delayed in order to encourage House Republicans to implement a permanent solution to the immigration crisis in the next coming months.  

–The House adopts Rep. King’s (R-Iowa) anti-immigrant amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill. On Thursday, Rep. King’s amendment to dedicate $5 million of the Department of Justice funds to investigate the use of discretion by the Department of Homeland Security passed the House by a 218-193 vote. While the House has blocked votes for a comprehensive immigration reform, the ENLIST amendment, and other smaller immigration measures, they have chosen to allow votes on two of Rep. Steve King’s anti-immigrant amendments.

–Rep Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) calls press conference to pressure House Republicans to act on immigration. This Friday, Rep. Gutierrez along with other House Democrats, held a press conference outside the House triangle calling on his Republican colleagues to act on immigration reform. As the days before the August recess dwindle away, the days left to allow a vote on comprehensive immigration reform are counting down. Imm_ReformUpdate_5_30_2014

NCLR and affiliates in action.

  • California: NCLR Affiliate TODEC hosted a rally with Reps. Gutierrez and Takano (D-Calif.) to end deportations and pass comprehensive immigration reform.ImmReform_Update_5_30_2014_PIC2


Congressional Immigration Scorecard

NCLR and five other national Latino organizations just issued preliminary scores to all 435 members of the House for their actions on immigration reform. They have through June to improve their performance before final scores are delivered to Latino voters in July. Pictured below are the scores for the House Republican leadership. Click here or see below to see how your member of Congress scored.

(Click to enlarge)

Scoring House Republicans’ Performance on Immigration

By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR

There’s still time to receive a passing score

As our nation’s schoolchildren prepare for summer and parents anxiously await that final report card, many of our elected leaders in Congress will begin their summer break with less-than-stellar scores of their own, particularly on the issue of immigration reform. I would go so far as to say that if some of them performed this way in school, there would be no choice but to fail them.

Today I was joined by esteemed colleagues from some of the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and voter engagement groups to issue a score card (also below) measures how individual members in the House of Representatives have performed on immigration reform. These scores clearly demonstrate a pattern: House Republicans are failing miserably on delivering immigration reform. What’s most frustrating is that all the data, numbers, and studies point to just how beneficial reform would be for their districts and the nation. They’ve chosen to ignore the fact that reform would reduce the deficit and restore law and order to our broken immigration system. Further, estimates show that it would create an average of 14,000 jobs per each congressional district across the nation.

Congressional Immigration Scorecard

Immigration reform also makes sense politically. The vast majority of the American public across the political and geographic spectrum, from farmlands to Silicon Valley, are united on this issue. By passing immigration reform, Republicans could begin to build a new relationship with Latinos, an important and burgeoning political constituency that could play a decisive role in elections across the country. The Latino community is looking closely at how they will respond to a real humanitarian crisis that a lack of reform has heaped upon hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of families. That crisis needs attention from House Republicans; they need to be part of the solution, or end up owning the problem.

Today, it is important for us to make clear that their political choices have consequences, but there is still time to reverse the damage they are inflicting with their inaction; there is still time to improve their score. Not doing so will ultimately relegate them to the bottom of the class with Latino voters, a position that will almost guarantee they will never graduate to the White House.

Banking in Color: How Can Financial Institutions Better Serve Communities of Color?

bankingincolor_sharegraphic_blog (3)As America edges closer to majority-minority status, new research indicates that communities of color face considerable challenges in meeting their needs in today’s financial services marketplace. Despite most reporting that they own a bank account, use smartphones, and put away monthly savings, large barriers to financial access still exist in the Black, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Latino communities.

Banking in Color: New Findings on Financial Access for Low- to Moderate-Income Communities, a new report by NCLR, the National Urban League, and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, offers a unique look at the financial lives of our nation’s low- to moderate-income population. It takes a deep dive into financial access data in places with large communities of color: Chicago, Houston, and southern Florida.

The organizations behind this report are a part of a coalition known as the Alliance for Stabilizing Our Communities. The coalition tapped its large network of community-based organizations in the target locations to learn how underserved communities interact with banks and save money, as well as whether the financial services industry is working for communities of color.  Continue reading

President Obama Officially Taps Julian Castro to Join Cabinet

Photo: Wikipedia

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. Photo: Wikipedia

Earlier today, the president formally announced the nomination of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The popular mayor of the country’s seventh largest city will replace outgoing Secretary Shaun Donovan, who has held the post since President Obama took office.

We’re thrilled the president has nominated yet another highly qualified Latino candidate whose experience serving as a three term mayor has undoubtedly prepared him to lead the nation’s top housing agency.

“As we have said, the president hit a home run with this nomination,” said NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía in a statement. “Julian Castro has become a respected and nationally acclaimed leader on urban revitalization and economic development, the issues at the heart of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s work”

The Senate should move quickly to confirm Mayor Castro. He would join the Small Business Administration’s Maria Contreras-Sweet and Labor Secretary Tom Perez as the third Latino in the president’s cabinet.

We look forward to working with Mayor Castro in the coming years.