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.
This week’s edition appears in both English and Spanish.
Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform? Here’s what the panelists have to say:
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Last week, hearings in the House Judiciary Committee kicked off, with an emphasis on incremental approaches to changing our immigration laws. One thing is certain – both chambers of Congress are deeply focused on immigration reform. The path to reform has never been smooth and straight. Last week moved us closer to the destination of an immigration system that welcomes the stranger and protects those fleeing persecution. There certainly will be bumps and twists as the journey continues, but we remain in motion with our destination in sight.
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners
As the markup continues on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744) in the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am encouraged by the bipartisan spirit of cooperation that seems to have characterized the process. Still, I am aware that committee members face a variety of political pressures that further complicate an already complex process. It will be a challenge for legislators to stand firm, but they must if legislation will continue to move forward. We are especially concerned that well-meaning legislators do not fold under political pressure while addressing harsher amendments than the provisions set forth in S.744, like those seeking stricter border enforcement and visa standards. We call on legislators to stand strong against political pressure and solve our actual problems at the border. Do not use the border to solve political problems at home. We urge lawmakers in both parties to craft a system that fixes real problems while reflecting our value for truly welcoming America’s immigrant brothers and sisters
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Immigration reform inched forward last week. The 18 senators on the Judiciary Committee are slowly and deliberately working their way through hundreds of amendments they have filed to S.744, the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan bill. After three hearings in one week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a slew of amendments and rejected a host of others. Given the fast-paced activity in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week around immigration reform, it is undeniable that progress has been made. However, fissures seem to be developing on bipartisan efforts around immigration reform in the House.
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!