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.
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Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform? Here’s what the panelists have to say:
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners
The latest group to push Congress to act on immigration reform was the Republican National Committee (RNC), which approved a resolution calling on its members to pass an immigration bill by the end of the year. While the RNC acknowledged the importance of addressing the issue, they failed to include one of the most important pieces to any reform — an earned path to citizenship. Our immigration system is broken and urgently needs to be fixed, but any true reform requires a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans. As August recess winds down, immigration advocates are looking to intensify their efforts. The faith community is at the forefront of the recess push. Catholic bishops and priests aim to take their message to the pews as they preach support for changes in immigration policy on the last days of the recess. And last week, the Evangelical Immigration Table launched a $400,000 radio ad campaign on Christian and talk radio, airing across 14 states. We hope our representatives will come back to Washington having been reminded time and again that immigration reform is the morally right and economically helpful thing to do.
Folabi Olagbaju, National Grassroots Director, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
LIRS spent last week actively promoting the 40 Days Fast Action for Immigration Reform among Lutheran congregations in the priority states of Texas and South Carolina and to other congregations and advocacy champions across the country. Efforts to mobilize our base for the congressional recess have been paying off. Pastor Mark Cerniglia, Senior Pastor at the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Greenville, SC, participated in an immigration roundtable with diverse group of community leaders and faith community on August 21 and is working with the area Methodist Church to set up a meeting with Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC4) in September.
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!