Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12120666 (posted Jun. 18, 2013)"
June 18, 2013
Today, at 5:00pm the Congressional Budget Office released their Score of S.744. (AILA Doc. No. 13061849.) They estimate that the bill would lead to a net savings of about $175 billion over the 2014-2023 period, taking into account increases to the labor population, increased use of services, and increased population, among other factors. Time provides more information as well.
The House Judiciary Committee began the markup of H.R. 2278 today. The markup saw impassioned statements by both sides of the aisle, including ranking members Reps. Conyers (D-MI) and Lofgren (D-CA) indicating that there were no changes that could be made to this bill to garner their support. Rep. King (R-IA) offered an amendment to nullify the Morton memos, which passed on party lines, and an amendment to end birthright citizenship, which he withdrew at the request of Chair Goodlatte (R-VA). AILA has a summary of today's markup. (AILA Doc. No. 13060654.)
What's going through Speaker John Boehner's mind right now, that's what everyone wants to know. Today he poured some cold water on those hopeful for immigration reform when he said: "I don't see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn't have the majority support of Republicans." Greg Sargent, of the Washington Post, seems to thinks he's bluffing, but only time will tell.
June 17, 2013
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on Meet The Press yesterday and had some dire words of warning for his fellow Republicans: "If we don't pass immigration reform , if we don't get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn't matter who you run in 2016. We're in a demographic death spiral as a party, and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don't do that, it really doesn't matter who will run, in my view." This comes right before the Huffington Post reported that Sen. Graham is growing frustrated with his fellow "Gang of Eight" member, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). "How do we put together a bill and then the guy who put it together says that he may not vote for it? I just don't get what we're doing here."
Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee will begin the markup process for H.R. 2278, the so-called SAFE Act. (AILA Doc. No. 13060654.) Read AILA's Take on H.R. 2278 and the letter to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi strongly opposing the bill. (AILA Doc. No. 13061750, AILA Doc. No. 13061751.)
Health Affairs has released a new study indicating that "Unauthorized Immigrants Spend Less Than Other Immigrants and U.S. Natives on Health Care."
John Morton, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement "announced his resignation today in an internal member saying he'll leave the agency at the end of July." CNN has compiled some of the stats that have marked Director Morton's career at ICE including 409,849, the number of deportations in President Obama's first term in office.
June 14, 2013
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee hosted a hearing on H.R. 2778, the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, the so-called SAFE Act. (AILA Doc. No. 13060750, 13060654.) AILA President Laura Lichter puts it best: "I am disheartened by this bill and that the Committee has taken it up. It completely misses the mark on the kind of reform our country needs in order to build a 21st century immigration system that benefits us all. This feels like déjà vu all over again. The SAFE Act doesn't bother with any new solutions but instead tries to resurrect an enforcement-only strategy that was sponsored nearly a decade ago by Representative Sensenbrenner, H.R. 4437. In the years since then, our government has spent an unprecedented amount on border security and enforcement, meeting benchmark after benchmark. But even those successes haven't fixed our broken system because border security is only one piece of the immigration equation. If anything, the failure of enforcement-only strategies just points out the need for a balanced overhaul, like what we see in the Senate bill." (AILA Doc. No. 13061343.)
The Hill is reporting the House Judiciary committee will begin markup of the SAFE Act in committee on Tuesday in order to have a final vote and send it to the floor of the House.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities dives deeper in Sen. Hatch (R-UT) amendment to require immigrants to prove they had paid all their taxes since they entered the country before allowing them to legalize. The Center argues that the IRS is not well equipped to take on this kind of challenge, and that diiverting IRS resources away from…high-return audits to try to reconstruct earnings records from modest-earning immigrants almost surely would result in a net loss of revenues to the Treasury, not the gain that Senator Hatch suggests."
Former Florida Governor and potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush addressed the Faith and Freedom Coalition's annual gathering and had some interesting things to say about why he supports the Senate immigration reform bill. "Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans over the last 20 years," and "immigrants are more fertile, and they love families."
Former member of the House "Gang of Eight" Raul Labrador went on Fox News this week to discuss his departure from the group. He states: "we need to make sure that people who are the newly legalized immigrants don't receive public benefits."
June 13, 2013
On 06/13/13 the Senate voted to table Sen. Grassley’s amendment 1195 which would prohibit the granting of RPI status until the Secretary has maintained effective control of the borders for 6 months. The amendment was successfully tabled (essentially killed) on a 57-43 vote. At the end of that vote Sen. Reid announced that because the minority party had objected to the amendment agreement there would be no more votes for the rest of the week, and that they would reconvene on Monday. He also indicated that Senators should be prepared to work through next weekend (June 22 and 23) in order to pass the bill before the end of the month.
Read Rolls Call’s explanation of Senate procedure and what’s holding up votes on the bill.
Pramila Jayapal, co-chairwoman of We Belong Together: Women for Common-Sense Immigration Reform, wrote an Op-ed for Politico on “Why women have most at stake in immigration reform.” She writes: “Immigration is rarely talked about as a women’s issue, but women and children make up three-quarters of all immigrants to the United States and 51 percent of undocumented immigrants are women. Previous reform proposals did not pay attention to the specific ways in which women were disproportionately burdened and would have continued to exclude millions of women.”
Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke at a forum hosted by the conservative American Principles Project and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership conference. He indicated that he may be able to support S.744, but only if significant changes are made.
The House Republicans have set a July 10th meeting to discuss their way forward on immigration.
June 12, 2013
Although, most anticipated at least a few votes on amendments to S.744 today on the Senate floor-the majority and minority parties were unable to come to an agreement on the process to proceed (the number of votes required to pass an amendment), and so no votes actually took place. That means the most of the day consisted of Senators taking the floor to make opening statements and statements in support of various amendments. The Senate is expected to begin voting on amendments tomorrow, but exactly which ones is still unclear. As of 6:30pm today 74 amendments have been officially filed on S.744. (AILA Doc. No. 13041760.)
One of the most exciting moments came when Senator Cornyn (R-TX) took the floor to formally introduce his 134 page RESULTS border security/trigger amendment. Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Schumer (D-NY), both of the "Gang of Eight" came to the floor to forcefully push back against Sen. Cornyn's allegations that his amendment would effectively secure the border and would not indefinitely delay legalization of the 11 million.
Senator Kirk (R-IL) surprised more than a few people yesterday when he voted no both on the cloture vote and on the motion to proceed. Today he released a statement, but it did little to explain his vote. He did indicate that he might be able to vote for the bipartisan immigration reform bill, but only "if the Cornyn amendment or something very close to it is adopted by the Senate..."
Yesterday, United We Dream organized a long awaited reunion for three DREAMers currently living in the United States, and their mothers, currently living in Colombia, Brazil and Mexico respectively. United We Dream has the emotional video as the three families reunited and demonstrated the need for immigration reform now.
The Campaign for an Accountable, Moral and Balanced Immigration Overhaul (CAMBIO) created this infographic explaining the unprecedented amount of funding the United States spends on border security.
Immigration Policy Center highlights this report from last year on the complexities of collecting biometric data for people entering and exiting the United States.
The Center for America Progress outlines "The Top 5 Reasons Why Immigration Reform in 2013 Is Different Than in 1986."
June 11, 2013
Today, the U.S. Senate begin debating S.744 after successfully voting, 84-15, on the motion to proceed. One of the first amendments filed was Sen. Grassley's (R-IA) Amendment 1195, which delays access to the path to citizenship by not allowing Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI's) to register until the Secretary of DHS certifies to Congress that she has maintained "effective control" over the entire southern border for six months. The Senate will continue debate on S.744 tomorrow, follow along with live updates on www.aila.org/senatebill. Watch AILA Advocacy Director Greg Chen explain what's happening in this Quicktake video.
SEIU has launched a seven-figure national advertising buy that will run the various commercials in rotation on national cable networks. The five different television ads feature veterans, small business owners, DREAMers, law enforcement officials and Republican voters who explain why they support commonsense immigration reform.
Sen. Rubio (R-FL) filed an amendment today (1225) requiring RPI who are 16 years of age or older to read, write and speak the English language. He said: "On the day we announced the principles that would shape the immigration bill, we made it clear that English proficiency would now be required for permanent residency for the first time in American history."
Today Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk voted no on the motion to invoke cloture and on the motion to proceed in the full Senate. He joined only 14 other Republicans in voting against allowing the Senate to begin debate on S. 744. This comes on the same day the Chicago Tribune ran an Editorial calling on the Senator to demonstrate leadership in supporting the bill. "If Kirk isn't ready to support the bill, he should be actively working to make it better, not waiting to see if he likes the finished product. He's come out in favor of citizenship for immigrants who are combat veterans. That's not going to move the ball." This is in addition to a letter business leaders sent the Senator urging his support for the bill: ""We don't know when Sen. Kirk is going to take a position. We need Sen. Kirk to put his shoulder behind this here as quickly as possible," said former Exelon CEO John Rowe. "He's an old friend, I wish him well. I just hope he will put himself into it promptly."
Today, President Obama, surrounded by business leaders, labor leaders, clergy, DREAMers and other immigration reform advocates, spoke at length about the need for immigration reform. He ended with: "You need to call and email and tweet your senators and tell them, don't kick this problem down the road. Come together. Work together. Do your job not only to fix a broken immigration system once and for all, but to leave something better for all the generations to come, to make sure
we continue to be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Do the right thing." (AILA Doc. No. 13061148.)
June 10, 2013
In the biggest news coming out of the weekend, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire publically announced her support of the bipartisan immigration reform bill, S. 744. On CBS' Face the Nation she told Bob Schieffer "this is a thoughtful bipartisan solution to a tough problem, so that's why I'm going to support it." She also later announced her support on her Twitter account.
Sen. Cornyn's (R-TX) RESULTS border amendment has been garnering a lot of attention lately, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) calls it a "poison pill" amendment and he's not the only one. Republican "Gang of Eight" member Lindsey Graham (SC) said: ""The problem you'll have if you try to enhance border security in an unachievable way and tie it to the path to citizenship, I think the deal falls apart."
Read AILA's Take on Cornyn RESULTS Amendment to S.744. (AILA Doc. No. 13061047.)
The Karl Rove backed advocacy organization, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) "announced today the launch of nearly $100,000 in advertising in Capitol Hill publications, the Wall Street Journal, and targeted online advertising to promote key changes to, and eventual passage of, immigration reform legislation in Congress." See the ad on the Crossroads website.
The Bipartisan Policy Center has released a briefer on the similarities and differences between S.744 and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
Senator Sessions has been making a vocal case against the bipartisan immigration reform bill, most recently in an Op-ed in the LA Times. He doesn't hold back, stating: "The so-called Gang of Eight immigration plan now being considered by the Senate fails to live up to every major promise made by its sponsors. This comes at the same time that Senator Lee (R-UT) is making his own case against the bill in Salt Lake City's Deseret News, "And why today, I must oppose the so-called "Gang" of Eight" immigration bill soon to be taken up by the Senate."
June 7, 2013
Details of Senator John Cornyn's (R-TX) border amendment to S. 744 are being released piece-by-piece. The Washington Post provides some details and the Senator's website includes this summary. In addition, Sen. Cornyn penned this Op-Ed for The Dallas Morning News explaining his problem with the bill as it currently stands: "Unfortunately, the bill falls short of fixing our immigration system and protecting the interests of Texas. The biggest problem with the legislation is its failure to improve public safety and guarantee results on border security and national security."
Karl Rove is jumping into the immigration debate making the case that "Republicans must consider the impressions they will create by what they say, the changes they propose and their votes on the final product." He concludes that "immigration reform is now a gateway issue: Many Hispanics won't be open to Republicans until it is resolved, which could take the rest of the year. But there is little doubt next week's Senate deliberations will shape for some time to come the Hispanic community's perceptions of the GOP."
The Immigration Policy Center released a special report today: "A Guide to S.744: Understanding the 2013 Senate Immigration Bill."
Watch as AILA Director of Advocacy Greg Chen discusses what's happening now with immigration reform in both Houses in AILA's Quicktake #24. Also, read AILA President Laura Lichter's AILA Leadership Blog, "The Senate Floor Dance is Set to Begin."
Yesterday, to the dismay of many, the House of Representatives voted 224-201 to approve an amendment that defunds the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program offered by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to the House appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security. When it was announced that the amendment had passed, those in the galley reacted with a loud series of boos.
The Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) has organized a march and rally for July 15, 2013 to "call upon Congress to: recognize the devastating effects illegal immigration and amnesty have on low-skilled workers, particularly those in minority communities; enforce current immigration laws, and; fulfill their duties to the millions of Americans struggling to find work by opposing amnesty and supporting policies to reduce overall levels of legal and illegal immigration, and to protect American jobs from irresponsible immigration legislation."
Five current and formers leaders of the New Hampshire Republican Party penned an Op-ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader yesterday declaring their support for the "Gang of Eight" bill and making the case for why all Republicans should support it. Similarly, in a report titled, "Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation," the College Republican National Committee makes the case for the Republican Party "to be clear about the difference between legal and illegal immigrants, and to also differentiate illegal immigrants from the children of illegal immigrants and how they would be affected by policies."
June 6, 2013
In the biggest news coming out of Congress last night, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) announced that he was leaving the House "Gang of Eight," just as the new "Gang of Seven" announced they had reached agreement on a bill and would now begin working on legislative language.
In the second biggest news item coming out of Congress (if not entirely predictable), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), filed cloture on the motion to proceed on S.744, the immigration reform bill. This sets up Monday, June 10th as the day the Senate could vote to proceed and then begin debate on the bill. confused about what all this means for the Senate process-check out AILA's one page factsheet on "What to Expect When S.744 Hits the Senate Floor." (AILA Doc. No. 13060646.) The anti-immigration reform group, FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) posted this action alert to their site in anticipation of the vote on the motion to proceed.
Share AILA's new Call your Senator Graphic on your Facebook, Twitter, blog, website, or anywhere else you can think of, as a way to shore up support for S.744 as we head into debate next week. (AILA Doc. No. 13060550.)
Wondering what impact the changes the amendments passed in committee to Senate bill 744 really have on the bill? Check out AILA's Take on a number of issues in the bill: crimes and national security,
family immigration. (AILA Doc. Nos. 13060549, 13060553, 13060554, 13060556, 13060656, 13060657 and 13060555.)
NBC News reports on Twitter: "Sen. Lindsey Graham on immigration: 'If this thing falls apart and we get blamed because we're not practical...we're toast in 2016.'"
Sen. Rubio continues to be in the middle of the undecided storm and no one seems to know where he's going to eventually land. On Tuesday The Senator went on Fox and Friends and was sharply rebuked by fellow guest Laura Ingraham on his support for the bill. Later that day he went on conservative Hugh Hewitt's radio show and reaffirmed that the bill will need to be amended before he'll be able to vote for it on the Senate floor.
America's Voice and Latino Decisions released a new poll today of 500 Latino registered voters nationwide. The poll found that Latino voters uniformly reject the notion of a 'border-security-first' approach with 81% saying a path to citizenship and border security should happen simultaneously.
The Third Way released a new infographic today outlining the five ways the green cards included in the senate bill translate into economic growth for the United States. The Migration Policy Institute released their own brief examining "how the Senate bill would reshape the legal immigration system, through its admission policies, creation of a new merit-based visa stream and relationship with temporary visa programs. The brief also examines the balance between family- and employment-based immigration and the creation and dissolution of visa program, as well as offers some estimates of future flows."
The National Immigrant Justice Center is running an ad in support of immigration reform in Times Square in New York City.
June 5, 2013
When Senator Frank Lautenberg's (D-NJ) passed away earlier this week all eyes turned to Governor Chris Christie to learn his plans to fill the veteran Democratic senator's now empty seat. Today, Gov. Christie announced that he would appoint a temporary replacement (no news on when) until a special election in October of this year to fill the seat permanently until the 2014 elections. Some were surprised by the move as it places the special election only a month before the regularly scheduled Gubernatorial election in New Jersey. What does this mean for immigration reform? Well, in order for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to ultimately invoke cloture and end debate on S.744, he needs 60 yes votes (even if there are only 99 sitting Senators), so this just made his job one Senator harder.
In other Senate floor news, Republicans are clamoring for an open amendment process (much like the process that happened in Judiciary Committee with over 200 amendments considered), and it looks like they're going to get it. Many moderate Senators have been keeping their cards close to their vest on S.744, what they have been quite open with though is the need for additional amendments to secure their votes for the final bill.
We know that Senator Hatch attached an asterisk to his affirmative vote in getting the bill out of committee-additional amendments on the floor. Now we know are least what four of those amendments will cover: "According to his office, Hatch's four offerings would: ensure compliance with federal welfare and public benefits law, modify provisions relating to the payment of back taxes to include all income and employment taxes owed, apply a five-year waiting period for certain eligibility for tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies under the health care law, and preclude crediting of benefits such as Social Security or disability payments for periods of unauthorized employment."
On the other side of the debate, Senators Cruz (R-TX), Sessions (R-AL), Lee (R-UT) and Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter yesterday to their fellow Senate colleagues encouraging the defeat of S.744 citing the rejection of many amendments in committee they feel would have strengthened the border security provisions of the bill among others.
Human Impact Partners released a new report today, Family Unity, Family Health: How Family-Focused Immigration Reform Will Mean Better Health for Children and Families, that focuses on the public health consequences of current immigration policy on children and families.
First Focus Campaign for Children ran this ad today in support of an amendment that would give the youngest children access to the same five-year road to citizenship as older DREAMers, rather than the 13 years currently in the bill.
June 4, 2013
In his opening remarks on the Senate floor today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made it clear that immigration reform would be coming to the Senate floor next week: "Even if we we've not completed action on the farm bill or the student loans proposals, we're going to bring immigration to the floor next week. Immigration is broken, it needs to be fixed."
America's Voice has a new blog outlining the sometimes complicated process by which the full Senate will take up, amend and potentially vote on S.744. For more detailed information on the Senate legislative process see the Congressional Research Service report.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, joined Chuck Todd on MSNBC this morning and had this to say about the House's chances of passing immigration reform this summer: "Well, we are working very hard in the House on immigration reform. We believe we have a broken system. We are taking a step-by-step approach. We have now produced four bills in the House, we're going to introduce another one this week dealing with interior enforcement which we believe is a major flaw in the senate bill. So we will continue down that path. we are being very deliberative, but we are not viewing this as going too fast or too slow. we're viewing it as getting it right, now making the mistakes the last time we did reform. I believe we can do that [pass a bill before August recess] and we're working hard to accomplish that, but again it's more important to get it right than to might any particular deadline."
June 3, 2013
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), wrote this Op-Ed as a special to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, expressing his support for immigration reform. Although the Senator from Nevada never mention the road to citizenship he seems to be staking his side in the debate: "Our nation needs comprehensive immigration reform, and the immigration reform proposal championed by the "Gang of Eight" just may be our answer. When it comes to fixing our immigration system, I believe that most Nevadans actually agree on about 80 percent of the policy. It's that other 20 percent where we disagree that tends to become the focus. I've been encouraged to see this particular piece of legislation continue to move through the regular legislative process and hope it continues."
When S. 744 reaches the end of the amendment process on the Senate floor it will almost certainly need 60 yes votes on a cloture motion to defeat a filibuster of the bill. ABC News looks at the six Senate Republicans most likely to vote for immigration reform (and in their eyes join the 54 Democrats and Independents voting for the bill).
Sen. Rubio (R-FL) seems to be backing away from his own bill as every day brings us closer to a Senate floor debate on S. 744. But his home state newspaper, the Miami Herald, ran this Editorial today emphasizing the importance of reform. "Sen. Marco Rubio, whose role so far has been crucial, believes stronger border enforcement is the key to victory. He's right; public support hinges on confidence in secure borders. But a promised floor fight over defining success in border security should not derail a promising bill, which already contains up to $6.5 billion in new money for technology and fencing."
May 31, 2013
Health Affairs, a leading journal of health policy thought and research that explores health policy issues of current concern in domestic and international spheres, released a groundbreaking report that "suggests that immigrants may be disproportionately subsidizing the Medicare Trust Fund, which supports payments to hospitals and institutions under Medicare Part A." The report explains: "In 2009 immigrants made 14.7 percent of Trust Fund contributions but accounted for only 7.9 percent of its expenditures-a net surplus of $13.8 billion. In contrast, US-born people generated a $30.9 billion deficit. Immigrants generated surpluses of $11.1-$17.2 billion per year between 2002 and 2009, resulting in a cumulative surplus of $115.2 billion. Most of the surplus from immigrants was contributed by noncitizens and was a result of the high proportion of working-age taxpayers in this group. Policies that restrict immigration may deplete Medicare's financial resources."
The Center for Immigration Studies issued a new report yesterday attempting to make the electoral case for opposing immigration reform. Steven Camarota, the Center's Director of Research and author of the report explains that "as Republicans think about how they can expand their voter base, the new data suggest that one of their biggest problems in the last presidential election was that so many less-educated whites sat home. These voters, who have been hard hit by the recession, have traditionally supported Republicans. It seems likely that by supporting the Schumer-Rubio amnesty, GOP legislators would further alienate these voters."
Mark Zuckerburg is coming under attack from the Left for controversial ads his political group FWD.us has released over the last few weeks. The most recent, a radio ad, is airing during Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity's radio programs. The ad features two voices who claims that "our immigration system is a joke, and the whole world knows it," that the "border is unsecure, our laws are unenforced. We don't know who's here, what they're doing or even why," and that "what we have now is a national security nightmare waiting to happen."
May 30, 2013
The Hill reports that the Senate "Gang of Eight" "plans to meet daily when their bill hits the floor in June and will encourage giving colleagues free rein to offer amendments, according to a person familiar with their discussions." Although the four members of the "Gang of Eight" on the Judiciary Committee mainly stuck together to defeat many amendments that would have altered core provisions of the bill, the willingness of the four members of the group not on the committee to stick together is still uncertain. Senator Rubio (R-FL) has seemingly made it a point to distance himself from the "Gang of Eight," especially those on the Judiciary Committee.
The Evangelical Immigration Table announced today a new quarter-million-dollar communication effort in support of immigration reform, including radio ads and billboards. The national ads on Christian and talk radio stations feature Dr. Russell Moore, President-elect of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church. In addition, ads featuring local pastors are airing on stations in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Pray for Reform billboards will appear in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Pray for Reform billboards will appear in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
May 29, 2013
The Immigration Policy Center released a new report today that "looks at immigration law, which on its face appears gender neutral, but actually contains gender biases that create barriers for many women trying to gain legalization within the current immigration system. These inequalities appear across immigration law, and even as new laws are put into place, stereotypes and assumptions remain unchallenged. Ironically, even laws written specifically to protect women, such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), continue to play out in practice along gender-biased lines."
May 28, 2013
At the end of Asian-American Heritage month the Center for American Progress released a report today detailing "Why Immigration Is an Asian American Issue." The report highlights how "Asian Americans are the fastest-growing immigrant population in the United States today. According to 2011 Census data, almost half of all immigrants in the United States-18.2 million-came from Asia."
NumberUSA has released a new ad
claiming that the immigration reform bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee "would offer a minimum of 33 million lifetime work permits in the first decade alone…[when] federal reports show that 20 million Americans want a full-time job but cannot find one because too many people are looking for too few jobs." The spot seems to be running in the Pittsburg area, Ohio and Kentucky so far.
The characteristics of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, "including income levels, workforce participation rates, English language proficiency, and health care coverage," will play an important role in any ongoing debate of a immigration reform bill that offers a road to legalization and/or citizenship. The Migration Policy Institute released a report this month profiling the population using the most recent data available.
May 24, 2013
Today, Sean Hannity spent the entire hour of his Fox News show discussing the immigration reform bill in the Senate. Sen. Rubio (R-FL) joined Hannity for the entire hour along with a panel of experts. While on the show Sen. Rubio had this to say about the current bill's border security provisions: "what people are saying is, we don't trust the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a good border plan, we don't trust the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a good fencing plan, and so maybe the alternative is to have the Congress do that. The point is that needs to happen. That is the lynchpin of whether this will work or not."
May 23, 2013
In a press conference today House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had this to say on the prospects for immigration reform on the House: "We're not going to be stampeded by the White House or stampeded by the president. The Senate is working its will, a lot of good work that's going on over there, but the House will work its will. Don't ask me how, because if I knew I'd certainly tell you, but the House is going to work its will."
This follows a joint press statement from Speaker Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA): "The House remains committed to fixing our broken immigration system, but we will not simply take up and accept the bill that is emerging in the Senate if it passes. Rather, through regular order, the House will work its will and produce its own legislation."
During yesterday's House Judiciary Committee hearing on "S.744 and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986: Lessons Learned or Mistakes Repeated," Steve King sent this tweet: #Immigration: Illegal aliens in House Judiciary Committee room during hearing today. How can we secure border if we can't secure our room? (AILA Doc. No. 13052250.)
May 22, 2013
AILA issued a press release commending the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing S.744 and calling on the full Senate to Show similar commitment to immigration reform. (AILA Doc. No. 13052260.) AILA president Laura Lichter said: "We applaud wholeheartedly the efforts of the four "Gang of Eight" members on the committee who helped ensure the core principles of the reform bill were essentially maintained." Watch AILA Executive Director Crystal Williams discuss this momentous occasion and what remains in store for the bipartisan Senate bill.
Now that S.744 is out of the Judiciary Committee it will head to the floor of the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that the bill will come to the floor the week of June 10th, after the Senate debates the farm bill.
Yesterday, President Obama and Vice President Biden met with young immigrants who received deferred action and with the siblings and spouses of undocumented immigrants. From a read-out of the meeting: "the President underscored that their stories are a good reminder that immigration isn't just a policy issue, but it's about our families, our communities and it's about our common future. The President and the Vice President thanked participants for their leadership, courage and on-going efforts to move immigration reform legislation forward." (AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13052154.)
May 21, 2013
Today marked the fifth and final day of the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on S. 744. By the end of the evening (after pizza had been ordered for Senators on the committee), the Committee successfully voted the final bill as amended to the floor of the Senate on a 13-5 vote. The ten Democrats on the committee were joined by the two Republicans from the "Gang of Eight" (Senators Graham (SC) and Flake (AZ), and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (UT). The legislation survived the entire markup process with most of its major provisions in place as the four Senators representing the "Gang of Eight" on the committee stuck to their commitment to resist any changes to the core provisions of the bill.
Today, the committee considered 31 amendments, 16 of which passed (the majority on voice votes). Many of the most controversial amendments were debated today (none of which passed) including: denying citizenship to anyone who had ever been in the country illegally (Cruz 3), providing immigration benefits to same sex couples (Leahy 5), making siblings and adult sons/daughters over the age of 31 eligible in the family category (Hirono 10), and making RPI recipients ineligible for tax benefits such as the EITC and CTC (Sessions 30).
Now that the Senate bipartisan immigration bill is heading to the floor of the Senate, the Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he will bring the bill to the floor in early June to have the debate and a vote on the final bill. Most importantly, The Hill reports that "Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Tuesday said he would not try to block immigration reform from reaching the floor despite the opposition of some conservative leaders."
America's Voice has pulled together a list of their best and worst amendments that made it into the final bill as voted out of committee today.
150 conservative groups have sent a letter to members of the Senate expressing their opposition to the bipartisan immigration reform bill. "We write to express our serious concerns regarding the Gang of Eight's immigration bill, S. 744. We oppose this bill and urge you to vote against it when it comes to the Senate floor...No matter how well intentioned, the Schumer-Rubio bill suffers from fundamental design flaws that make it unsalvageable. Many of us support various parts of the legislation, but the overall package is so unsatisfactory that the Senate would do better to start over from scratch." The groups include Laura Inraham, Mark Krikorian and many others.
May 20, 2013
Today marked Day 4 of the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on S. 744. (AILA Doc. No. 13052042.) The committee finished debating Title III of the bill pertaining to interior enforcement and moved to Title II, legalization and the immigration system. In total the committee passed 30 amendments, out of a total 50 amendments considered (although some of those were withdrawn with no actual votes). This was by the far the most contentious day of markup to date with five amendments offered by Sen. Grassley (R-IA), two by Sen. Sessions (R-AL) and one by Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) failing on strictly party line votes (8-10). Four amendments were defeated when the two Republican members of the "Gang of Eight" joined the ten Democrats on the committee in voting no--three dealt with limiting eligibility for RPI status and one with the one year asylum filing deadline. All that being said, 25 amendments, offered by both sides of the aisle, passed on voice votes.
The committee spent part of the day debating protections for asylees and refugees, including passing an amendment requiring background checks on all seekers and an amendment providing work authorization within 180 days of filing. Sen. Grassley ultimately withdrew his amendment to strike the provision eliminating the one year filing deadline for asylum seekers after Sen Feinstein (D-CA) indicated willingness to further negotiate the issue.
S.744 already includes many tough provisions on crimes, inadmissibiity, deportability and RPI exclusion grounds (see an AILA roundup of all such provisions). And today, the committee struck down many amendments to increase these already tough provisions, albeit on very close votes. However Grassley #44, making a 3rd drunk driving conviction an aggravated felony, passed on a 17-1 vote. In addition, Graham #3, which requires additional security screening for certain immigrants who live in regions that may pose a terrorist threat to the United States, passed on a voice vote. (AILA Doc. No. 13052042.)
In other amendment news Hirono #21, making DREAMers eligible for federal financial aid and Hirono #12, allowing RPI applicants to pay in installments, both passed on voice votes.
AILA has compiled a chart listing all the amendments offered during the 4th day of mark-up. (AILA Doc. No. 13052042.)
Also, here are AILA Positions on Selected Title II Amendments. (AILA Doc. No. 13051447.)
Ben Johnson, President of the American Immigration Council, participated in an AILA Quicktake and explained what's going to happen as the final week of markup kick offs in the Judiciary Committee. (AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13052057.)
AILA member Margaret Stock wrote an Op-ed for The Hill's Congress Blog, raising the red flag on the impact on military families of an amendment by Senator Sessions (R-AL) that mandates the imprisonment for 60 to 90 days of people who overstay their permission to be in the United States. "Military family members often enter the United States and overstay their permission to be here in order to adjust status, frequently because well-meaning but ill-informed government lawyers and personnel officials tell them to do so."
Senate Democrats, especially those on the "Gang of Eight," are spending time "wooing two conservative Republican senators they consider crucial to expanding support for immigration reform beyond the Gang of Eight and maximizing pressure on the House." As the Committee enters day five of markup tomorrow, what Cornyn and Hatch amendments are offered and accepted will paint a picture of the Senator floor fight to come.
The USCIS Union President released a statement urging lawmakers to oppose the bipartisan senate immigration bill. (AILA Doc. No. 13052055)
May 17, 2013
As the Senate continues to plug away, the House simply refuses to get left behind. Although reports earlier this week seemed to signal that the House bipartisan Gang of Eight was on the verge of collapse, The Hill reports today that the eight Representatives have reached an agreement. The eight members, Democrats Luis Gutierrez (IL), Zoe Lofgren (CA), John Yarmuth (KY) and Xavier Becerra (CA) and Republicans Raul Labrador (ID), John Carter (TX), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL) and Sam Johnson (TX), emerged from a late meeting last night and reported that they had reached an "agreement in principle."
Although the specifics of the deal haven't been made public, the bill will certainly be more conservative that the Senate bill currently being debated, including some reports of a 15 year road to citizenship.
In advance of Monday's Judiciary Committee markup, AILA has compiled our recommendations on a number of select amendments in Title II and Title III. (AILA Doc. No. 13051447, AILA Doc. No. 13051551.) The Washington Post has compiled a summary of all 48 amendments passed so far and a description of their impact.
The Center for American Progress has issued a brief calculating the economic benefits of legalization for the 24 states where 88% of the undocumented immigrant population resides. For example, they note that in "Arizona the 10-year cumulative increase in GSP will be $23.1 billion, the increase in the earnings of state residents will be $15.3 billion, and immigration reform will create an average of an additional 3,400 jobs annually."
May 16, 2013
Today marked Day 3 of the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on S. 744. (AILA Doc. No. 13051641.) Although Sen. Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the committee, had made a lot of threats earlier this week of extending markup days to tomorrow and Saturday, in reality the committee finished their work on Title IV and the E-Verify section of Title III in record time. This mean that the committee won't be reconvening until Monday, May 20th, at 10:00am to continue with the other sections of Title III (and then moving on to Title II, legalization and the legal immigration system, before the end of next week). The only exception will be a return to Title IV to vote on a potential deal between Sen. Hatch (R-UT) and members of the "Gang of Eight" on several of his amendments to the H-1B program.
In today's markup the committee passed 11 of the 15 amendments debated. Over half of the amendments on the E-Verify provisions were offered by Senator Grassley (R-IA), including delaying the preemption of State and local laws until E-Verify is nationally mandated, requiring an 18 month implementation deadline for businesses to implement E-Verify nationally, and protecting children from identity theft. However, one of the most contentious Grassley amendments came on the second to last vote of the day. Amendment Grassley 34, which would make document fraud (knowingly transferring, possessing, or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification that is not their own) a crime punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment if such offense is committed to facilitate or assist in harboring or hiring unauthorized workers, turned out to be the only party line vote of the day, failing 8-10. (AILA Doc. No. 13051641.)
AILA has compiled a chart listing all the amendments offered during the 3rd day of mark-up, the statement of purpose and the result of the vote in committee. (AILA Doc. No. 13051641.) Also, check out this AILA Immigration Quicktake featuring AILA President-Elect Doug Stump discussing today's events.
Sen. Rubio (R-FL) a member of the "Gang of Eight" that crafted the Senate immigration reform bill might not get a vote as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that's currently debating the bill, but he has been making his opinions heard loud and clear in other ways. Now he's getting some pushback, never more apparent than in his outspoken support for Sessions amendment #4, debated in committee last Tuesday. The amendment would require the use of a biometric entry and exit data system at ports of entry before the Secretary of Homeland Security may adjust the status of aliens who have been granted registered provisional immigrant status. (AILA Doc. No. 13051446.) The amendment was defeated on a 6-12 vote with the two Republican "Gang of Eight" members of the Committee joining all ten Democrats to defeat it as it went to a core provision of the bill. Politico reports that "two 'Gang of Eight' sources characterized Rubio's support for the Sessions amendment as a 'mistake.'"
Two House Republicans, John Carter (TX) and Raul Labrador (ID) from the beleaguered House "Gang of Eight" have officially announced that "the time for negotiations is over. 'Tomorrow night, as far as I'm concerned, is the last night I'm gonna meet,' Carter said. Labrador, a key conservative in the group, agreed. 'I think it's time for us to move ahead with a Republican plan if nothing happens tomorrow," Labrador said. He characterized such a plan as "conservative immigration reform.'"
Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) penned an Op-ed for Roll Call on "The Importance of Family Immigration." He states: "I am concerned, however, that eliminating the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their brothers, sisters and married adult children for legal permanent residence will be disproportionately detrimental to AAPI families."
May 15, 2013
Last night BuzzFeed hosted an Immigration Summit featuring Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Luis G. Fortuno, former Republican governor of Puerto Rico, Mario Lopez, President of the Hispanic Leadership Fund and Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst and the Cato Insitute, among others.
The House, not wanting to be left behind, has scheduled hearing for the two individual pieces of legislation (H.R. 1772 and H.R. 1773) for tomorrow. (AILA Doc. No. 13050809, AILA Doc. No. 13042953.) This comes as Politico reports that the secret House Gang of Eight comprehensive, compromise bill, may never come into fruition. Some of the most ardent anti-immigration reform members of the House had a press conference yesterday to drive this point home. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was joined by Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), John Fleming (R-LA), Louis Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Steve Stockman (R-TX) in expressing their deep seated opposition to the Senate bipartisan bill.
Senator Leahy (D-VT), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released his recap of the 2nd day of markup on S. 744.
May 14, 2013
The second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee mark-up focused mainly on high-skilled immigration. 15 amendments were passed with majority support, out of the 25 total votes taken. (AILA Doc. No. 13051446.) All but one of the amendments that passed did so with broad bipartisan support on voice votes. AILA has compiled a chart listing all the amendments offered during the 2nd day of mark-up, the statement of purpose and the result of the vote in committee. (AILA Doc. No. 13051446.)
The "Gang of Eight" continued to stay committed to the core provisions of the bill, with the two Republican Committee members of the "Gang of Eight" (Senators Flake (AZ) and Graham (SC)) joining all ten Democrats to vote no on two amendments offered by Senator Sessions that tie certain provisions of the bill to the successful implementation of a biometric entry/exit system (#4 and #6). (AILA Doc. No. 13051446.) Not everyone is happy about the "Gang of Eight's" decision to "band together and defeat changes that could prove fatal to the overall bill."
Negotiations are still currently ongoing between Senator Hatch and the Gang of Eight to include some of his amendments (#10-17) in the final version of the bill. In other amendment news: three of Senator Grassley's eight offered amendments were passed (all with voice votes). These will: require additional information in internet job postings for nonimmigrant employees in connection with the issuance of H-1B visas (#58), strengthen provisions regarding student and exchange visitor visa programs (#69), and require the Secretary to implement the transmission of data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to databases used by CBP (#77). Two amendments offered by Senator Schumer (#3 and #4) to allocate small numbers of visas to underrepresented countries passed as well as an amendment by Senator Klobuchar (#1) to provide protections for abused derivatives of temporary workers also passed.
Senator Lindsey Graham took to Twitter yesterday to comment on the inclusion of same-sex families in the immigration reform bill: "If the Judiciary Committee tries to redefine marriage in the immigration bill they will lose me and many others."
The Wall Street Journal has an infographic that looks at the foreign born population state-by-state and compares it to Senators' support for immigration reform. The Journal also tackles the complexity of the back tax issue for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who might be eligible to apply for legal status under this bill. "The Senate immigration bill essentially hands responsibility for the issue to the Internal Revenue Service, but it doesn't provide the agency specific instructions on how to collect taxes from people who have been working with false Social Security numbers or in the black-market economy. Nor does it say that the IRS, already struggling with its increased mandate stemming from the 2010 Affordable Care Act, will get any more resources to deal with millions of new taxpayers."
At first glance Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) don't have much in common, but as The Daily Beast points out, it's actually more than you'd think. Both are Puerto Ricans who are committed to seeing immigration reform happen this year (and are a part of the secretive House Gang of Eight) and they have nothing but compliments for each other.
Last week the Congressional Budget Office released an updated version of their June 2011 report, "A Description of the Immigrant Population: An Update," with 15 update exhibits included. These include information on the foreign born population in the U.S. from 1860 to 2010, the foreign born population broken down by state in 2012, the education attainment of people ages 25-64 by birthplace, and the unemployment rate from 1994 to 2012 by birthplace.
May 13, 2013
Tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin day two of markup on S. 744, the bipartisan immigration reform bill. The committee will be focusing on Title IV of the bill, "Reforms to Nonimmigrant Visa Programs," with a heavy focus on the H-1B program and the W temporary worker program. AILA will be providing hourly live updates from the debate so stay tuned to our S.744 Senate bill page. (AILA Doc. No. 13041760.)
The Immigration Policy Center released two new factsheets making the case for high skilled immigration in the Senate reform bill. Fueling the Recovery makes the case that high-skilled immigrant workers create new jobs, supplement rather than displace native-born workers and improve the wages of native-born workers. >Rebuilding Local Economies makes the case that metropolitan area demand for high-skilled workers is high and that it leads to job creation and higher wages in those areas.
The Houston Chronicle had some scathing words for the two Senators from Texas on the Judiciary Committee in an Editorial released last Friday titled: "Seek immigration reform solutions, not excuses." "Many of these amendment IEDs are being offered by such ardent opponents of the legislation as the Lone Star State's Senate duo, tea-party true-believer Ted Cruz and his senior colleague John Cornyn, a tea-party target in 2014 if he doesn't toe the line. Despite protestations to the contrary, Cruz, Cornyn and other hard-liners would be happy to hobble immigration reform. That's why they have latched on to the border-security issue as a way to kill it."
Senator Dianne Feinstein was on NBC's Meet the Press this weekend breaking down the border security votes that happened in the Judiciary Committee markup. She also spoke of the opportunity that exists now to get immigration reform done: "If we fail this time, I think we're not going to have another chance in the next decade. I am very hopeful. The people in the Gang of Eight have held together, they understand the break points, their supporting one another, if that continues on the floor…I think we have a very good chance of success."
As the Senate pushes forward with their immigration reform bill, people are starting to wonder what the House of Representatives is up to on immigration. For the last few years a bipartisan group of House members have been working on a bill, but the public has yet to see any concrete language. The Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security of the House Judiciary committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, May 16th, on the two individual bills introduced, "The Legal Workforce Act" (mandatory E-Verify) and "The Agriculture Guestworker Act," but have not indicated who the witnesses will be. (AILA Doc. No. 13050809, AILA Doc. No. 13042953.) The New York Times is reporting that the House bipartisan group is struggling with the same business labor employment dispute the Senate struggled with, but with no compromise in sight.
May 10, 2013
Yesterday, Dana Leigh Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges and an Immigration Judge in San Francisco since 1987, wrote an Op-ed for The Hill: Let Immigration Judges be Judges. In her piece she argues that "enhancing the courts' resources and allowing immigration judges to consider the individual circumstances unique to each case would create a fine-tuned tool, and a more accurate way to serve the public and private interests instead of the blunt instrument that now exists. Enhanced due process and a more efficient removal process are solutions that would satisfy all sides of the immigration debate.
AILA has compiled a full list of all of the amendments considered yesterday. (AILA Doc. No. 13050961.)
Brookings released a new report today, "H-1B Visa and the STEM Shortage," making the case that "there is compelling evidence that the H-1B visa program is helping to alleviate acute shortages in various occupations."
The Heritage Foundation is in full crisis mode after it was discovered that one of the authors of their controversial study outlining how immigration reform would cost the U.S. trillions of dollars had argued in his Harvard dissertation that there was a long-standing difference between the IQ of white Americans and immigrants. Today, The Heritage Foundation announced the resignation of that author, senior policy analyst Jason Richwine.
Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, expressed his support for immigration reform in a blog for the Huffington Post. "As Dr. King said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. African Americans have spent much of our history fighting for fair treatment and equal opportunity. We must also offer support to our immigrant brothers and sisters. If we want to escape the sins of our past, we must ensure there are no second class families today."
May 9, 2013
Today's mark-up in the Senate Judiciary Committee demonstrated that the four Senators from the "Gang of Eight" on the committee (Senators Graham (R-SC), Flake (R-AZ), Schumer (D-NY) and Durbin (D-IL)) are committed to continuing the spirit of bipartisan compromise that produced the original bill. Many of the most extreme border security amendments, including ones that would double or triple spending on border security, tie legalization to unrealistic and arbitrary border security goals, and eliminate protections for civil rights, were defeated on bipartisan votes. In total 32 amendments were offered, and 21 were accepted (20 with bipartisan support). AILA has a full summary of today's mark-up, including the amendments considered and arguments for and against from Senators on the committee. (AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13050961.)
At the end of the day Senator Leahy (D-VT) announced that Title I (border security) is now closed. Many believe that next Tuesday's mark-up will focus on the large Title II section that includes the legalization program and the legal immigration system.
The Senate Judiciary Committee Majority Staff issued a "Day One Recap: Bipartisan Progress on Immigration Reform Bill," summarizing the events of the day. "Among the amendments accepted included those offered by Republican Senators to strengthen border security, including an amendment by Senator Grassley to require the government to apply its comprehensive border strategy to the entire Southern border, not just high-risk areas. The Committee accepted amendments by Senators Flake and Grassley to increase oversight of DHS enforcement strategies, and amendments by Senators Sessions and Cornyn to protect border communities. The Committee adopted amendments to improve treatment of children and families in detention, and protect families affected by violence at the border. The Committee rejected amendments to triple the number of officers on the Southern Border to 60,000, and to spend billions of additional dollars building a "double fence" on top of the billions of dollars already authorized in this bill.
ABC/Univision News provides some analysis of why the Democrat controlled Judiciary committee allowed Senator Grassley's amendment to require the federal government to develop a plan to secure the entire border, instead of focusing only on three specific "high-risk areas," as originally outlined in the bill. They give two reasons: "First, the new standard probably won't be that much more difficult to achieve than the one in the original bill. The federal government is already being tasked with securing the high-risk parts of the border. So locking down the quieter parts is doable. More importantly, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the bill's sponsors, has said that the border security provisions will need to be strengthened to get it through the House, where Republicans have a majority."
May 8, 2013
300 amendments were filed last night to S. 744 and all were posted online on the Senate Judiciary Committee website. AILA has compiled a comprehensive chart of all the amendments filed broken down by Senator and issue area. (AILA Doc. No. 13041760.)
AILA issued a press release highlighting the best and worst of the 300 amendments offered yesterday to S. 744, the bipartisan immigration reform bill. (AILA Doc. No. 13050809.) Some of the positive amendments noted: ensuring all families can reunite with their loved ones, including the siblings of U.S. citizens and LGBT/same-sex families; ensuring businesses of all sizes have access to the workers they need and that immigrant and U.S. workers are fairly paid and fully protected; and restoring due process so everyone who goes through the system is treated fairly.
And some of the bad: requiring additional ineffective and costly measures as "triggers" before anyone could apply for legalization; eliminating training for immigration agents on fundamental issues like racial profiling, the improper use of force, and privacy rights; barring people with minor convictions from access to the legalization program; preventing Registered Provisional Immigrants from being able to travel and visit their family; and eliminating vital protections such as access to legal counsel and the basic right of a detainee to have a custody hearing before detention.
Senator Leahy (D-VT), Chair of the Judiciary committee, announced that he would be tweeting out real time information during the mark-up tomorrow on what amendment the committee is considering, and other useful tidbits. The Judiciary committee staff will be using the hashtag #CIRmarkup
May 7, 2013
As of 6:30pm almost 250 amendments have been filed to the Senate Bill 744 in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leading the list were Senators Sessions (R-AL) with 49 amendments, Hatch (R-UT) with 24 and Hirono (D-HI). At the imposed deadline set by Chairman Leahy, Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Cruz (R-TX) had not yet filed a single amendment.
The Immigration Policy Center just released a report: “ target="_blank">Adding it Up: Accurately Gauging the Economic Impact of Immigration Reform,” chronicling the positive impacts immigration reform will have for the American economy.
May 6, 2013
FIRST AMENDMENT FILED. Senator Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, filed the first amendment to Senate bill 744. The amendment is titled: "Prohibition on land border crossing fees."
Last Thursday Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) penned an Op-ed for The Wall Street Journal: "The Immigration Reform Opportunity." In it Sen. Rubio seems to be walking back many of the core provisions contained in the "Gang of Eight's" original senate bill introduced April 16th. He states: "for those who have suggested that the border security triggers outlined in the Senate bill aren't strong enough, we now have a chance to strengthen them. For those who expressed concerns about giving the federal government too much discretionary power through waivers and exceptions in applying different aspects of the law, we have a chance to make clear exactly how the executive branch must enforce this immigration law and what the consequences are if it doesn't. For those concerned about the cost of immigration to American taxpayers, we have a chance to make sure the bill lives up to its promise that today's illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal benefits."
Time magazine updates the four (new) major hurdles immigration reform faces in the Senate: stalling tactics from the right, pushback from the left, the cost for taxpayers, and the conservative media storyline.
Earlier today The Heritage Foundation released a new report arguing that immigration reform would cost the American taxpayer $6.3 trillion. The report and subsequent Heritage Foundation press conference garnered immediate reactions: Senator Flake (R-AZ) on Twitter, Doug Holtz-Eakin in the National Review Online, and the CATO Institute and ThinkProgress, to name just a few.
Last Wednesday was May Day and thousands of immigrants, allies and supporters took to the streets to show their support for immigration reform. Reform Immigration for America put together this great collection of pictures and stories from rallies around the country. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid addressed thousands of people gathered in downtown Las Vegas and told them: "(This country owes) ... the 11 million people a permanent solution. That's what comprehensive immigration reform is all about: a permanent solution. And we are going to do that. We are going to fix a system that is broken. We are going to continue to work on a program that is tough but fair,"
May 3, 2013
The Muskego Patch is reporting that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) "says he is open to the idea of a pathway to citizenship, or some sort of legal status system, so the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country 'can come out of the shadows.' However, the Tea Party-backed Republican said Thursday that Congress should tackle immigration reform on a piecemeal basis - instead of passing a comprehensive plan." Sen. Johnson went on to say: "If you're asking people to pay a fine, it's not amnesty, you may disagree with the level of the fine for the illegal act. But, in the end, we are a compassionate society. We're a nation of immigrants, so we're going to treat them with humanity."
This month's cover of the National Review boasts a picture of a laughing Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), with the words underneath proclaiming: "Rubio's folly." The Senator is accompanied by Senators Schumer (D-NY) and McCain (R-AZ), in the picture, which was taken at the "Gang of Eight" press conference announcing the immigration reform bill. What the picture has left out, as CNN noted, are the people that were standing behind the three Senators, including conservative anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist (see the original picture). The cover lists Mark Krikorian, the Executive Director of the anti-immigration group Center for Immigration Studies, on the byline.
May 2, 2013
In a blog on the Congressional Budget Office website, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf states that CBO will use something called "dynamic scoring" to analyze the effects of proposals to make changes in America's immigration policy. This blog follows a public letter the agency sent to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House budget committee, after he requested more information on the forthcoming process.
CBO Dir. Elmendorf explains that although CBO has a "long-standing convention of not incorporating macroeconomic effects in cost estimates, a practice that has been followed in the Congressional budget process since it was established in 1974," the agency anticipates using a similar approach as they did with the 2006 immigration reform bill. This dynamic scoring of bill will "reflect any significant changes in the size of the U.S. population and labor force in the cost estimate for the bill, and will describe any broader macroeconomic effects in supplemental material."
A new polling report conducted by Lake Research Partners found "solid support among African American voters for an immigration reform proposal that includes a roadmap to citizenship (66% favor, 16% oppose). This support holds up after hearing both anti- and pro-reform messages, including hot button issues of the potential for immigrants to take jobs away from African Americans (Final ballot: 69% favor, 14% oppose)."
President Obama left today for a three day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica. Although the President intends to focus the trip on national security and trade, the Washington Post reports that a discussion of U.S. immigration policy is inevitable with new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. "Peña Nieto is facing pressure from some quarters to take more of a public stand in the immigration debate. He has been willing to be more confrontational with the United States, pulling back on the extraordinary access Mexico gave U.S. authorities in prosecuting the drug war and organized crime."
May 1, 2013
Many are asking if LGBT families will be included either in the immigration reform bill the Senate Judiciary committee sends to the Senate floor or in the final bill that passes the Senate. Buzzfeed looks at all the factors that may go into that decision, especially for Senate Democrats on the committee.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been making waves over the past month by speaking out in favor of immigration reform, even doing an event with Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL) in Chicago. However, this week, while doing a town hall during the Congressional recess in his home state of Wisconsin, he professed his concerned about so called "anchor babies." Rep. Ryan: "That's what they call it, anchor babies. It's a person who comes and has a child here, if you're born here you're a naturalized citizen. You have to change the constitution. There's a little bit of legal debate about whether you have to or not. I think it comes down fairly clearly that you have to change the constitution to change the definition of citizenship to not being born here or being born with legal parents. That will take a long, long time, years [...] But it's really treating a symptom, right. People are coming across the border illegal or overstaying their visas. Therefore illegal immigration is fairly easy, and then people are having what's called anchor babies."
Polling guru and NY Times columnist Nate Silver just released this amazing interactive map that tracks what effects legalization and eventual citizenship will have on electoral politics. The results may not be what you expect. And as Nate Silver puts it: "The high-stakes question, in other words, is whether immigration reform would really allow Republicans to improve their vote share substantially among Hispanics and Asians, without costing them too many votes among white voters. If so, that is where the electoral "bonanza" might lie."
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) went on Mike Gallagher's radio show and had this to say about the Gang of Eight's bill's potential for passing in the House of Representatives: ""The bill that's in place right now probably can't pass the House. It will have to be adjusted, because people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now."
The Center for American Progress just released a chart that lays out "Current and Estimate Future Immigration Based on the Senate's Immigration Reform Bill."
Two Senate committees besides Senate Judiciary, the Commerce, Science and Technology committee and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, have scheduled hearings for early next week to debate S. 744, the immigration reform bill. (AILA Doc. No. 13050145, AILA Doc. No. 13043049.)
April 30, 2013
Last Thursday, Cesar Vargas, of the DREAM Act Coalition, published an Op-ed in the Houston Chronicle calling on Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to "take advantage of this last chance to prove to Texans a legacy of firmness in leadership to take on immigration reform that includes not only border security but a practical system that unites all families." The following day, April 26th, Senator Cornyn responded on his Twitter account: "@DRMAction complete bs."
Last Friday the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held a half day conference, "Reforming Immigration for a Better America." Speakers includes Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Graham (R-SC) and House members Lofgren (D-CA) and Poe (R-TX). Watch the day in its entirety on the Chamber's website.
The California Endowment recently released a video, "Dreaming of Health Care," featuring undocumented youth sharing their stories about lack of access to health care.
Yesterday The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL.) and Rep. John Carter (R-TX.) in San Antonio for "Left. Right, Forward," a conversation on immigration reform. Rep. Carter said this about the road to citizenship in the House bipartisan bill: "It's not as easy as the Senate side, [but] it's not as bad as anybody might think it is. It has compassion. It allows people to be human beings, to live a normal life, to have a job, to take care of their family, to pay their taxes, to obey the law and go about their lives."
Speaking about the same secret House bipartisan bill, President Obama offered these remarks in a morning press briefing: "Now, I haven't seen what members of the House are yet proposing, and maybe they think that they can answer some of those questions differently or better, and I think we've got to be open-minded in seeing what they come up with. The bottom line, though, is that they've still got to meet those basic criteria. Does it make the border safer? Does it [deal] with employers and how they work with the governments to make sure that people are not being taken advantage of or taking advantage of the system? Are we improving our legal immigration system? And are we creating a pathway for citizenship for the 11 million or so who are undocumented in this country?"
Next Tuesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee will hold a hearing titled "Border Security: Examining Provisions in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act." (AILA Doc. No. 13043049.)
Buzzfeed chronicles the potential disaster looming ahead for the Republican party as Congress gears up to have the first substantial and lengthy debate on immigration reform since 2007. "As conservative criticism of the reform effort grows louder, many Republican operatives, donors, and consultants are bracing for an outcome that would be even worse, politically, than the demise of the bill: A fierce, national, right-wing backlash that drowns out the GOP's friendlier voices, dominates Telemundo and Univision, and dashes any hopes the party had of making inroads to the Hispanic electorate by 2016."
April 29, 2013
On Friday, Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced H.R. 1773-"The Agricultural Guestworker Act." (AILA Doc. No. 1304295.) Rep. Goodlatte said this about the bill: "The new guestworker program created under the AG Act remedies this problem by removing red tape, streamlining access to a reliable workforce, and protecting farmers from abusive lawsuits. It also allows more participation in the guestworker program by opening it up to dairies and food processors, both of which often need access to foreign labor. In addition, the AG Act is good for those seeking a better life for their families by providing opportunities to earn a living while temporarily working in agricultural jobs U.S. citizens are not willing to do."
In what could be seen as a major breakthrough on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) "says now is the time to reform the immigration system for the economy, for his Mormon faith and for the people here illegally. Utah's senior GOP senator sees the bipartisan Senate proposal as a solid starting point, though he isn't ready to endorse the deal just yet. He's still reading its 844 pages and promises to suggest some tweaks."
This comes less than a month after the president of the Salt Lake Chamber, Lane Beattie, leveled some harsh criticism at both Utah senators after they sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to move slower on immigration reform. Sen. Hatch was one of the original sponsors of the DREAM Act over ten years ago, but voted no on the bill in December 2010, when it was last up for a vote. Sen. Hatch has announced that he will not seek re-election.
It's the first real leak from the secret House of Representative "Gang of Eight" working on a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill-and it's about legalization. Roll Call reports: "the House immigration working group has tentatively settled on a plan that would require illegal immigrants to appear in federal court and plead guilty to breaking U.S. immigration law. Illegal immigrants would be required to complete this step before embarking on a conditional pathway to citizenship that would take at least a decade. In fact, illegal immigrants would essentially be granted legal status when a federal judge sentences them to "probation" for illegally crossing the border."
Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) released two new infographics to illustrate the border security improvements and the road to citizenship in S. 744.
Crystal Williams, AILA's Executive Director, describes what foreign travelers must obtain a visa; immigrant and temporary non-immigrant visas; and work visas for agricultural and high- and low-skilled workers on C-SPAN's Washington Journal.
April 26, 2013
Former Vice Presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been making the rounds speaking on why he supports immigration reform. Last week, at an event in Chicago, he said this: "If you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead - that is what the American idea is. No matter what the condition of your birth, you can make yourself what you want to be. That is an incredible idea." The National Review chronicled how Rep. Ryan, before he came into the national spotlight, served an adviser (and later a speechwriter) to NY Congress member, and vice presidential nominee in 1996, to Rep. Jack Kemp. Rep. Ryan remembers how he and Rep. Kemp campaign together against an anti-immigrant proposition in California, prop 187, because "they [were] both worried that the proposal would burn Republicans within the immigrant community, and 'make it so that Latino voters would not hear the other messages of empowerment.'" The National Review speculates that perhaps Rep. Ryan, a leader in the House Republican caucus, will give other Republicans the courage and cover they need to support immigration reform.
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee wrote this Op-Ed arguing that "before we hurry to overhaul our immigration laws, we must methodically look at each of the various components that need to be remedied. Immigration reform is too important and complex to not examine each piece in detail.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is asking the American public to weigh in on the Senate's "Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill. Visit his website to provide feedback on the bill.
Sonal Ambegaokar, an attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, discusses the impact excluding immigrants from anti-poverty programs and restricting access to health care will have for those communities in an Immigration Impact blog. "The Senate proposal requires aspiring citizens to wait 15 years before they can apply for anti-poverty programs such as Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps). They are denied eligibility for the length of their time in provisional status and must wait an arbitrary five years more after receiving a green card in order to apply for these programs. During these 15 years, these lawfully present immigrants will continue to contribute to our economy and help maintain the very programs that they are denied access to through their taxes. This exclusionary policy keeps immigrants in poverty and creates barriers to integration."
April 25, 2013
This morning House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Immigration Subcommittee chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) held a press conference to discuss the way forward for immigration reform in the House. (AILA Doc. No. 13042561.) Rep. Goodlatte said that the house must pass immigration reform through regular order (meaning through his committee) and that judiciary will take the first step by beginning to introduce individual bills related to individual issues in immigration reform. He stated that the first two bills the committee will be debating are mandatory E-verify and a temporary guest worker program. Read a full summary of the press conference.
Two members of the Senate Gang of Eight, Schumer (D-NY) and McCain (R-AZ) immediately fought back against the incremental approach, according to the Washington Post: "'We can't do individual bills. The problem is, people say, 'What about me?'" Schumer said. "What we found, and it might be counter-intuitive, is that the best way to pass immigration legislation is a comprehensive bill because that can achieve more [political] balance. Everyone gets much, but not all, of what they want. The idea of doing separate bills is just not going to work." McCain added, "It's got to be a comprehensive approach.'"
While the House was announcing their way forward on immigration reform, Senator Leahy (D-VT), chair of the Senate Judiciary committee, previewed how the mark-up (amendment and final vote process) was going to work in his committee. (AILA Doc. No. 13042640.) He states: "I have thought about ways we can make our proceedings more open to the public and easier to follow. For this important legislation, I intend to make all amendments available to the public in a timely fashion by posting them on our website. To do this and to ensure a more organized, easier to follow process, I am asking that all amendments to the bill, S.744, be filed by Tuesday, May 7, at 5 p.m. This will allow us to post the amendments on our website and to organize our proceedings around amendments relating to similar subject matters and aspects of the bill. That will mean that our first consideration of amendments will be at our mark up on May 9 and that the public will be better able to follow the discussion and votes."
April 24, 2013
FWD.us, the Mark Zuckerberg-backed organization pressing for immigration reform, is planning on releasing the its first wave of television ads next week. One features Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) defending the bill and the other is a defense of the conservative credentials of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The ads will be run through a subsidiary group, Americans for a Conservative Direction, who Politico reports, will spend seven figures to run ads in more than half a dozen states.
The Migration Policy Institute released a side-by-side comparison of the 2013 Senate immigration bill with the 2006 and 2007 senate legislation.
On Monday, Sen. Paul (R-KY) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) and Republican Leader McConnell (R-KY) urging them to "incorporate various national security concerns into the comprehensive immigration reform debate in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings."
In the Monday Senate Judiciary hearing, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, "I don't think that there is any issue in this entire debate that is more divisive than a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally…In my view, any bill that insists upon that jeopardizes the likelihood of passing any immigration reform bill." (AILA Doc. No. 13041702.) Sen. Cruz also issued a press release expressing his dissatisfaction with the "border triggers" in the bill.
However, an array of recent polls demonstrate citizenship's popularity, a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that nearly two-thirds of the public backs citizenship on its own. However, "when told that the pathway to citizenship would require paying fines and back taxes, as well as passing a security-background check, support grows - with 76 percent of total respondents, and 73 percent of Republicans backing the path." These findings are further highlighted by a new CNN/ORC International poll which finds 84% overall support for citizenship and 78% support amongst Republicans.
The Wall Street Journal reports on a group of African American Leaders, the African American Leadership Council, hosting a press conference today opposing the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill. Frank Morris, Council leader, offered this explanation: "The Senate Gang of Eight's immigration bill is not only impractical, but immoral. Increasing immigration levels through amnesty and new visa programs, particularly at the low-skilled level, will flood the labor market with millions more people, leading to higher unemployment, more poverty, and a lower standard of living for many in the black community.
Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, responded:
"Actual civil rights leaders view immigration reform as one of the defining civil and human rights issue of our time. The opinions expressed in today's press conference are not shared by most African Americans, civil rights leaders, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, or any other significant constituency in the African American community. African Americans are certainly not monolithic in their thinking on this or any other issue, but we know that the nation's immigration system is broken and that the status quo does not serve our economic or long-term interests. As a nation, we are stronger when we focus on real solutions that work and on the values that unite us. Divisive and baseless rhetoric has no place in a serious national conversation about immigration reform."
On April 18, 2013 Speaker Boehner (R-OH) held a press conference and answered a question on the Senate's immigration bill and answered this way: "Well, you know, I want to congratulate the Senate Gang of Eight for coming forward with their bill. I'm sure there's parts of it I would agree with, parts that I would disagree with. But the fact is that they've worked together in a bipartisan fashion to craft this bill. The House Gang of Eight that's been meeting for over four years continues to make significant progress. And in addition to that, Chairman Goodlatte is working diligently with his committee on -- on hearings about various parts of this problem. You have to remember, about three-fourths of the members of Congress have never dealt with the issue of immigration. So there's a big learning curve that the members are going to have to go through. It's why our whip, Kevin McCarthy, has been holding sessions, attended by members, being briefed by Chairman Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy, the Immigration Subcommittee chairman, to help familiarize members with the various issues within legal immigration and the problem of illegal immigration. So I'm overall very happy that this -- the process is continuing." (via Congressional Quarterly)
April 23, 2013
We need your case examples. Please consider submitting your case examples to AILA to potentially use with Senate Judiciary committee members and other elected officials to make the argument for the best immigration reform bill we can get. (AILA Doc. No. 13041707)
This morning DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on S. 744. This hearing was the last one on the bill before mark-up begins on Thursday. The Secretary spent over three hours with the committee answering questions on everything from her ability to implement an effective E-Verify system for agricultural companies, to the alleged moving target of successfully securing the Southern border, to the immigration status of the Boston bombers. AILA provides a live summary of today’s hearing on our Congressional Hearing Resources page. (AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13042249.)
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary, was on Lou Dobbs Tonight and had this to say about the Senate Immigration Reform bill (S. 744) (starts at 4:33). “Well, it depends on what the process is. If we can meet all the characteristics you just laid out--effective--last time we had this conversation, engenders confidence in our fellow citizens in the process is every bit as important as the result. And as you noted, my colleagues in the House have been working, and they've been working hard on both sides of the aisle to produce a product in the House. I thought what the Senate came out with, frankly, was a very constructive opening bid, to use a bridge term…But I will say this. I want to be -- I want to be fair to the four Republicans. I mean, they're in the minority. Lindsey and Marco and Jeff Flake are in the minority, and they're doing as good as they can do. If the bill is going to be pushed towards law enforcement and border security and internal security, which is where I want to see it go, the House is going to have to do something, too, and we're going to start that process when we go back next week.”
In yesterday’s Senate Judiciary hearing, a few of the witnesses spoke on the impact immigration reform will have in driving down wages, especially for low skilled workers; Ezra Klein, of the Washington Post, disputes these claims and explains exactly how immigration reform will help low wage workers. (AILA Doc. No. 13041702.)
April 22, 2013
Today, the Senate held a marathon Judiciary Committee hearing on "The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S.744" and AILA has a summary of the hearing on InfoNet. (AILA Doc. No. 13041702) AILA President Laura Lichter testified on the third panel and answered a few tough questions from Senators on both sides of the aisle. (AILA Doc. No. 13042240.) Senator Cornyn (R-TX) asked whether she believed the bill would actually secure the border and adequately deal with visa overstays, Sen. Franken (D-MN) was worried about implementing mandatory E-Verify, especially for small businesses and Senator Coons (D-CT) asked about the lack of discretion in immigration policy.
The Dream is Now is a new 30-minute documentary that's being made in real time, as this debate is unfolding, by Academy Award-winning director, Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for 'Superman', An Inconvenient Truth). Dream gives voice to and puts a human face on the undocumented children of immigrants who are desperate to earn their citizenship and give back to the only country they've ever called "home." You can watch the 30 minute film in its entirety on The Dream is Now website.
Quartz ("a digitally native news outlet, born in 2012, for business people in the new global economy") published this infographic on the three different roads to citizenship for aspiring citizens without papers.
CAMBIO, the Campaign for an Accountable, Moral and Balanced Immigration Overhaul, recently released their 2013 National Poll of 1,000 registered American voters on their attitudes on immigration reform, worker protections, due process, and border enforcement. "The BRS data show that Republicans, Democrats and independents alike overwhelmingly support stronger safeguards in the federal employment database and stricter enforcement of wage and safety standards, favor giving higher priority to stopping drugs and weapons from crossing the border than to stopping people, and support giving judges the opportunity to weigh the circumstances of an illegal immigrant's case before ordering deportation, even when the immigrant has a criminal record."
Last Friday night, on CNBC's "The Kudlow Report," conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter faced off against founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist on the issue of immigration reform.
Senators Menendez (D-NY) and Rubio (R-FL) both have resources pages on the immigration reform bill on their Senate websites.
The NY Times Editorial Board ran an Editorial on Saturday in responses to Sen. Grassley's, among others, efforts to link the tragic events in Boston and the immigration reform debates: "The immigration debate will test the resilience of the reform coalition in Congress. Changes so ambitious require calm, thoughtful deliberation, and a fair amount of courage. They cannot be allowed to come undone with irrelevant appeals to paranoia and fear."
Senator Grassley (R-IA), the Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, made these comments in the Friday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: "How can individuals evade authorities and plan such attacks on our soil? How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the U.S.? How do we ensure that people who wish to do us harm are not eligible for benefits under the immigration laws, including this new bill before us?" Grassley asked.
In response Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released this comment: "In the wake of this week's terrorist attack in Boston, some have already suggested that the circumstances of this terrible tragedy are justification for delaying or stopping entirely the effort for comprehensive immigration reform. In fact the opposite is true: Immigration reform will strengthen our nation's security by helping us identify exactly who has entered our country and who has left - a basic function of government that our broken immigration system is incapable of accomplishing today. The status quo is unacceptable. We have 11 million people living in the shadows, which leaves this nation vulnerable to a myriad of threats. That is all the more reason why comprehensive immigration reform is so essential. By modernizing our system of legal immigration, identifying and conducting background checks on people here illegally, and finally securing our border, we will make America more secure."
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) had this to say: "It is a horrible situation. It is heart-wrenching. And I'm not going to speculate on anything. Linking something like that to other legislation I think is probably no appropriate at this time. In the first place, we don't have the facts. And what is indisputable, is that we have an immigration system that is broken; that we have an immigration system that is not working. We don't know who gets here. We have millions of people who we don't know who they are, who are here - whether we like it or not."
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said this to a group in Chicago: "We have a broken immigration system, and if anything, what we see in Boston is that we have to fix and modernize our immigration system for lots of reasons. National security reasons, economic security reasons. For all those reasons we need to fix our broken immigration system."
April 19, 2013
AILA and AIC just released a 74 page draft section-by-section summary of S.744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" introduced by the bipartisan Senate "Gang of Eight" late night Tuesday. (AILA Doc. No. 13041944.)
Earlier today the Senate Judiciary Committee held their first hearing on S. 744. Although DHS Secretary Napolitano was scheduled to testify, she was forced to reschedule due to the events unfolding in Boston. The Secretary did release a statement indicating that she was pleased by the work of the bipartisan group of Senators to reform and modernize U.S. immigration laws. (AILA Doc. No. 13041943.) Read a summary of the statements and question/answer session of the hearing on our Resources on Congressional Hearings page. (AILA Doc. No. 13041043.)
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a 2nd hearing on the "The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S.744" Monday morning featuring a whopping 20 witnesses, including our very own AILA President Laura Lichter. (AILA Doc. No. 13041702.)
AILA President Laura Lichter discusses the introduction of an immigration reform proposal by the "Gang of Eight" on television. Her interview is followed with B-roll that was used by the station. (AILA Doc. No. 13041940.)
You could feel the love in the room yesterday as the Senate "Gang of Eight" came together to hold an official press conference announcing the introduction of their bill. AILA followed along and shared a summary of the substance and jokes shared in the conference. (AILA Doc. No. 13041844.) AILA also released a press release commending the "Gang of Eight's" work that lead up to this point. (AILA Doc. No. 13041849.)
April 18, 2013
At 2:30pm (ET) today the "Gang of Eight" Senators will host a press conference outlining the common-sense, immigration reform proposal they introduced in the Senate. AILA will be providing live updates from the press conference as well. (AILA Doc. No. 13041844.) The senators will be joined by prominent advocates for immigration reform. The event will occur on the eve of the first of multiple Senate hearings on the bill.
Yesterday, the Gang of Eight issued a joint statement on their immigration reform legislation. (AILA Doc. No. 13041703.) Not to be outdone, the bipartisan group of Representatives working in the House released a press statement applauding the Gang of Eight's efforts and stated that they "are also working on a good faith, bipartisan effort in the House." (AILA Doc. No. 13041705.)
So, how has House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) been reacting to all this attention on a potential Senate immigration reform bill? Mainly by remaining silent. Although The Huffington Post is reporting that he has indicated that he will "try to move immigration reform through the House in a few separate bills, rather than in one comprehensive piece of legislation" (as Chair of the House Judiciary committee would like); Fox News is reporting that the Speaker is being "pressed by the conservative wing of the Republican Party not to allow a vote on major pieces of legislation--from gun control to immigration--without majority Republican support."
Jon Stewart and Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal discuss "the tough but fair conditions Latinos will impose on Republicans hoping to one day win back the White House." This is line with Latino Decisions polling that answers the questions: "Can Republicans really draw more Latino support if they back a path to citizenship? The answer is unequivocally 'Yes'."
Sen. Rubio (R-FL) has been busy. Yesterday he went on Laura Ingraham's radio show yesterday to dispel myths and rumors that have started to surround the Senate's immigration reform bill, he posted this YouTube video explaining the bill, and he recorded this video for the "Reclaim America PAC."
Immigration Equality pulled together statements from a number of organization that are expressing disappointment that same-sex families were not included in the Senate's immigration reform bill and calling for their inclusion in any final bill.
April 17, 2013
America's Voice has a round-up of the myriad of statements from national immigration advocacy groups, including the American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Law Council. Also, check out the AFL-CIO President's statement and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President's statement on the bill's introduction.
So now that a bill has been introduced in the Senate, what are the anti-immigration voices saying? NumbersUSA, FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) have all been riling up their bases, here are some choice excerpts:
NumberUSA: "Nearly every section of the Gang Amnesty bill seems to add more foreign workers to compete with unemployed and underemployed Americans. The Gang apparently believes that the way to help the 20 million Americans who can't find a full-time job is to give out another 20-30 million lifetime work permits to foreign citizens over the next decade." -Roy Beck
FAIR: "Nevertheless, the Senate Gang of Eight has finally announced a bill, one that will rob American workers and taxpayers - all to please special interests. This legislation is all about satisfying the demands of illegal aliens and their advocates for amnesty and providing business interests access to low-wage foreign labor." - Dan Stein
Rep. King on Twitter: "#Gof8Fact: Gang of 8 bill rewards those deported & here illegally with the objective of their crime #amnesty #immigration #slaponthehand"
Today the Immigration Policy Center launched "Think Immigration," a policy wiki. The site will serve as "a hub for sharing ideas and crafting practical policies that improve American's immigration system."
The Senate Judiciary Committee has two hearings scheduled to discuss the immigration reform bill introduced, both titled: "Hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation." The first hearing will be Friday, April 19th with DHS Secretary Napolitano testifying-the second hearing will be Monday, April 22nd (the witness have not yet been announced). (AILA Doc. No. 13041043, AILA Doc. No. 13041702.) AILA will have extensive coverage of both hearings.
TAKE ACTION! Use our simple and easy tool to send a Letter to the Editor on the Senate bill.
AILA just released this "Quicktake: Senate Immigration Reform Bill Introduced," featuring AILA President Laura Lichter. (AILA Doc. No. 13041764.)
Senators Rubio (R-FL) and McCain (R-AZ) have been touting a Wall Street Journal article highlighting the potential economic benefits of immigration reform as they prepared to release their bipartisan bill.
Senator Rubio (R-FL) has also created a resource page on his Senate website on the immigration reform bill, which include a myths vs. facts explanation of the security triggers.
AILA General Counsel David Leopold walks us though the "Five Reasons Why Congress Will Pass Immigration Reform."
Partnership for a New American Economy co-chairs Mayor Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch and J.W. Bill Marriott, Jr. released a statement today on the Senate immigration reform bill: "Mayors and business leaders understand how vitally important it is to bring our broken immigration laws into the 21st Century," said Partnership for a New American Economy Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "I applaud the bipartisan Gang of Eight for tackling this issue, and we will do everything we can to help them win bipartisan majorities in both houses. One of the best things we can do for our economy is to pass sensible immigration reform that drives innovation and creates jobs - and the sooner Congress acts, the brighter our future will be."
WE HAVE A SENATE BILL. Late Tuesday/early Wednesday the Senate Gang of Eight introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. (AILA Doc. No. 13041760.) Senator Schumer (D-NY) took to the floor of the Senate to officially introduce the bill and thank his colleagues and the staff that helped negotiate and draft the legislation. (AILA Doc. No. 13041765.) AILA Commended the Senate "Gang of Eight" for the Bipartisan Immigration Bill in a press statement. (AILA Doc. No. 13041761.)
Read the Washington Post and Politico articles on the bill's introduction and the gaming already happening on the bill's chances of passage and get the New York Times viewpoint in the editorial they ran today.
April 16, 2013
As much as Rep. Steve King (R-IA) would like to use the tragedy in Boston to derail the immigration conversation in Congress, the bi-partisan group of Senators working on common sense immigration reform are still planning on introducing the bill this week. In fact, today Senators Schumer (D-NY) and McCain (R-AZ) headed to the White House to brief the President on the bill. (AILA Doc. No. 13041663.) This comes as news reports indicate they are facing criticism from the left and the right on the leaked contents of the bill.
As everyone awaits the immigration bill's introduction into the Senate, CNN reports that "according to a CNN/ORC International survey, 84% of the public backs a program that would allow undocumented workers to stay in the United States and apply for citizenship if they have been in the country for several years, have a job, and pay back taxes."
AILA Secretary Annaluisa Padilla and Media-Advocacy Member Ally Bolour penned this piece for the AILA Leadership Blog on "Why the United American Families Act (UAFA) is an integral part of immigration reform."
The South Carolina Conservative Action Alliance (SCCAA) launched a statewide television, radio and internet ad campaign in support of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and bipartisan immigration reform.
Several news outlets have publicized this 17 page outline of the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration bill titled: “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.” (AILA Doc. No. 13041603.)
Although the Senate Gang of Eight was expected to introduce their bill into the Senate today-and had scheduled a press conference to announce it-Senators Schumer and McCain announced that their "bipartisan work on immigration will wait at least a day out of respect for the victims."
The Washington Post and Politico have released bare outlines of the bill, but these should be taken with a grain of salt as no official legislative language has been released by the Gang of Eight. The Washington Post reports: "Millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States could earn a chance at citizenship under a sweeping Senate proposal to be released Tuesday that would represent the most ambitious overhaul of the nation's immigration system in three decades. The highly anticipated proposal from an eight-member bipartisan group also aims to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country by creating tens of thousands of new visas for foreign workers in low-skilled jobs, according to a 17-page summary of the bill obtained by The Washington Post."
April 15, 2013
Yesterday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared on seven Sunday talk news shows (including two Spanish interviews)-breaking the record for the most shows in one day. Here's a round-up of his appearances:
On April 17th and 18th the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) will "Hold Their Feet to the Fire," an event bringing radio hosts and anti-immigration reform activists to D.C. to lobby for "secure borders, existing laws enforced, worksite verification to protect American jobs and most importantly - no amnesty."
April 12, 2013
Yesterday, 375+ AILA attorneys and their clients took to Capitol Hill to fight for immigration solutions. In over 380 lobby meetings with Representatives, Senators and even the White House AILA members made impassioned pleas for a common sense immigration process for their clients. Check out the AILA Facebook page for pictures from the day and a short video on why AILA members made the journey to Washington DC for the exciting event.
A new Gallup Poll released today indicates that "Americans Favor Giving Illegal Immigrants a Chance to Stay."
Asked of U.S. adults: "Next, suppose that on Election Day you could vote on key issues as well as candidates. Would you vote for or against a law that would allow illegal immigrants living in the United States that chance to become permanent legal residents if they meet certain requirements?" Vote for 69%; Vote against 29%
"Would you vote for or against a law that would allow illegal immigrants living in the United States the chance to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements?" Vote for 65%; Vote against 32%
April 11, 2013
The New York Times reports that the immigration bill "will include a major new merit-based program for foreigners to become permanent legal residents based on their work skills, including both high-skilled and blue-collar workers, according to people familiar with a draft of the legislation. Over time the program, just one piece of the bill, would open up many new opportunities for foreigners to settle in the United States based on their skills, a shift from the focus on family ties that is the main foundation of the current immigration system."
BuzzFeed reports that "same-sex couples could be left out in the cold when the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill is introduced, but LGBT advocates are confident their issues will be addressed in committee."
The American Council on International Personnel has released a primer on "Navigating the U.S. Employment-based Immigration System" that focuses on how the U.S. economy can be strengthened and American jobs created through reform of the employment-based immigration system, as a part of comprehensive immigration reform.
April 10, 2013
Fair President Dan Stein outlined the "5 reasons GOP should say no to immigration plan" in an Op-Ed for Politico: 1. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will not even allow hearings on a bill; 2. Democrats will not agree to border security and other enforcement requirements as a prerequisite to amnesty; 3. The legislation will create a new government bureaucracy that will set wages and working conditions; 4. The legislation would extend Davis-Bacon "prevailing wage" requirements to private-sector jobs; and 5. The bill would be a budget-buster.
Media Matters for America then broke down all the reasons Dan Stein's arguments are flawed.
ABC Univision breaks down the "Four Arguments Against a Long Wait for Citizenship:" 1. to avoid creating an underclass; 2. people have been here for a long time already; 3. family strife; 4. fear of shifting political winds.
The Center for American Progress issued a series of reports in a sharp rebuke against the Heritage Foundation Anti-Immigrant study finding that immigration reform would cost the United States trillions of dollars.
The Washington Post reports that "A tentative deal has been reached to resolve a dispute between agriculture workers and growers that was standing in the way of a sweeping immigration overhaul bill, a key senator said Tuesday. The agreement could smooth the way for release of the landmark legislation within a week or so."
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) visited the border recently and had this to say: "If there was a simple, easy answer I'm sure someone would have done it a long time ago…I really worry that there is no consequence of coming across the border illegally…There is no pain involved in that."
April 8, 2013
The Washington Post reports that the "bipartisan Senate group on immigration legislation is attempting to craft an agreement so secure that the eight members will oppose amendments to its core provisions, an arrangement that could delay the introduction of a bill, people familiar with the negotiations said."
On Sunday, April 7th, Senators Chuck Schumer, John McCain and Lindsey Graham went on the Sunday news shows to talk immigration reform. On "Face the Nation" Schumer and McCain said the staffs of the four Republican and four Democratic senators "are in a room working 12 hours a day, taking all the agreements that we've come to over the last three months, and turning them into legislative language, specific legislative language." Both claimed that the process was moving smoothly along and hoped to have a bill by the end of the week.
Meanwhile Sen. Graham appeared on "Meet the Press" expressing support for a temporary guest worker program and frustration with Democrat hesitation to the program.
NPR Reports on Sen. Rubio's (R-FL) role as a pivot point in the immigration reform negotiations: "As Graham and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., were appearing on Sunday talk shows to all but declare an immigration deal completed - after a hard-won agreement between business and labor on a new low-skilled worker program - Rubio was putting out a different message: Not so fast."
In the House members are expressing optimism of releasing a bill as well. "I am very, very optimistic that the House of Representatives is going to have a plan that is going to be able to go to a conference with the Senate in which we're going to be able to resolve differences," Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illiniois, said on CNN's "State of the Union."
April 5, 2013
The Alaskan Congressional delegation today announced their unanimous support for immigration reform: "Inspired by the words of our First Alaskans, and deeply committed to an inclusive state and nation, we join today to express our hope that the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill being drafted by our colleagues be brought to the floor of our respective bodies for consideration this session. Like our colleagues drafting the bill, we believe this legislation should secure our border, streamline our legal immigration system and provide a clear and responsible path to citizenship for those already here."
April 4, 2013
We haven't heard much about the House's plan for immigration reform, but Rep. John Carter (R-TX) recently spoke to a local Texas station and shared some of what's happening with the bi-partisan negotiations: "'We have been meeting on this issue for almost four years, it's miraculous that we kept it a secret.' Carter says the group - made up of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans - kept things under the radar to avoid the pressure of outside influences while they worked deliberately toward a bipartisan plan. While details are scarce, the Congressman did hint that a full bill would be released, as opposed to the Senate's broader proposal. 'We have legislative language that we will be ready to go forward on. Not concepts, but actual language.'"
AILA just posted this "Quicktake" Video on the Business and Labor Agreement. (AILA Doc. No. 13040352.)
The Center for American Progress recently released a comprehensive report on the latest and most essential facts about immigrants and immigration reform. This includes sections on today's immigrant population, the demographics and political power of Latinos and Asian Americans, the economy, federal policy and public opinion polling.
April 3, 2013
The NY Times reports on the three paths to citizenship the secret bi-partisan House bill being negotiated will offer to the undocumented Americans currently in the United States. The three paths would include: a special path for DREAMers, a path for
immigrants who have either a family or an employment relationship that would allow them to apply for legal status while relaxing or waiving the three and ten year bans, and a provisional legal status for everyone else who would be eligible to apply through regular channels for a green card after 10 years and citizenship 5 years after that.
This comes on the heel of the Sunday NY Times Editorial, The Immigration Spring, celebrating the agreement reached between business and labor.
United We Dream released a 30 second Times Square Ad this week.
Wondering about what's happening with LGBT Families and the immigration reform movement? Check out this AILA Interview of the Month with AILA Chicago chapter member Michael Jarecki. (AILA Doc. No. 13040153.)
April 2, 2013
Six House Republicans, some of them hardline conservatives, wrote a letter last week to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) "offering [him their] support, encouragement and assistance as [they] work together to identify the principles that must guide [the] nation's thinking on immigration reform." The six members were: Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Justin Amash (R-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Trey Radel (R-FL), and Mark Meadows (R-NC).
AILA released their newest video yesterday, "Economic Growth Through Business Immigration Reform."
April 1, 2013
The Washington Post reports that a major hurdle towards immigration reform was cleared over the weekend as "Labor and business leaders have agreed in principle on the details of a new visa program for low-skilled foreign workers…The two sides agreed on how to overcome the final sticking points, including how much the foreign workers would be paid and which industries would be exempt from the guest-worker program."
The Center for American Progress has launched a new website focusing on the stories of undocumented LGBT Americans: Out4Citizenship. The site includes stories of LGBT immigrant families and other resources.