Immigration reform is seeing a rejuvenated push. The question is, will it become a reality in 2014?
Here to keep you up-to-date on the debate and legislative progress 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. Media representatives who wish to speak with one of the panelists, please click here. If you would like to read previous editions of THE UPDATE, please click here. You can read the Spanish version at “Reforma migratoria de 2014: ‘LA ACTUALIZACIÓN’ para el lunes 24 de Marzo.”
Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform?
Brittney Nystrom, Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:
There is still a buzz in the air in Washington, D.C. around President Obama’s announcement last week that he is reviewing how to carry out deportations more humanely. The lack of progress in the House of Representatives towards meaningful immigration reform combined with deep frustration and pain in immigrant communities has created a significant opportunity for the President. It is no coincidence that this announcement comes the same month that deportations under President Obama’s leadership will hit the 2 million mark. The family members, friends, and neighbors of those 2 million individuals know the devastation that a deportation causes. Prior to deportation, hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees are held in immigration detention each year. A hunger strike is underway now at immigration detention facilities in Texas and Washington state by detainees calling for improved conditions and an end to deportations. The current buzz around a review of deportation practices is encouraging, but will die away quickly if no actions follow the words. Meanwhile, Congress still holds the real power to reform our immigration laws for a better and stronger America.
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The news of President Obama’s willingness to review current deportation practices is a welcome glimmer of hope for families and communities nationwide. Too many families have been splintered by harsh immigration enforcement practices. Parents who are deported leave young children behind, as portrayed in this heartbreaking story in the New York Times. Business owners who are detained for immigration charges lose everything they worked to build here in America. And congregations are left with empty pews when immigrant and refugee families are caught up in unfeeling and cold deportation machinery. The President said he wants deportations to be handled “more humanely.” Treating our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters with humanity and compassion is the least we can do. We should strive to welcome the newcomer in our hearts and in our country.
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.