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.
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 also read “Reforma migratoria de 2013: “LA ACTUALIZACIÓN” para el lunes 28 de octubre.”
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
As Washington debates how to move forward on immigration reform, evangelicals continue to remind legislators of the urgent need for action. Last week, thousands of evangelical Christians gathered in support of #Pray4Reform: Gathered Together in Jesus’ Name, a nationwide week of events. Dozens of major events and hundreds of prayer gatherings took place across the country, reflecting the groundswell of support for immigration reform that exists within the evangelical community. In addition, the Evangelical Immigration Table sent a letter to members in the House urging bipartisan cooperation to fix our broken immigration system this fall. The letter cited multiple concerns with legislation known as the SAFE Act, which focuses on interior enforcement and could be voted on by the House in the near future. Now it is time to make it difficult for our leaders to ignore continued pressure by people of faith to fix our broken system. Continue to speak out and encourage our leaders to take action now.
Bishop Julian Gordy, Immigration Ready Bench, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
We have waited much too long for a fair and compassionate immigration reform and can’t be dissuaded by government shutdowns and political squabbles. It is clear that Americans want immigration reform, and that migrant and refugee families deserve it. We welcome the President’s recognition that advocates for immigration reform have persisted out of passion and will not be easily deterred from achieving our goal. But we must also recognize that for migrants and refugees and their families and communities, the effort to achieve immigration reform is much more than political. It’s personal. Where immigration is concerned, we cannot stop short of achieving the American value of liberty and justice for all.
Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Despite recent, dramatic headlines from various media outlets announcing the alleged death of immigration reform, the political machinery in D.C. moved forward action on a workable immigration system. Speaker Boehner publicly stated that he is hopeful an immigration bill will be voted on in the House of Representatives this year. President Obama delivered from the White House an impassioned case for passing smart immigration reform this year, urging that “everybody wins” if lawmakers reform our broken immigration laws. In addition to high-profile public speeches, rumors swirled of the imminent introduction by Republican members of Congress of bills to legalize some of the undocumented population. Nearly all Democratic members of the House have endorsed a comprehensive immigration reform bill based on the Senate-passed version. Although the legislative details are murky and the rhetoric is vague, the stirrings of progress are unmistakable. Immigration reform is ready for takeoff.
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!