This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending May 17

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Week Ending May 17

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This week in immigration reform: the Senate Judiciary Committee continues amending the immigration bill (S. 744), considering sections that deal with worker visas and interior enforcement, while a bipartisan House group working on immigration reform legislation reaches an agreement on principles; NCLR staff and Affiliates meet with, call, and write members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging them to uphold the roadmap to citizenship, protect workers, and reunite separated families; and NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía calls on Jim DeMint, President of the Heritage Foundation, to publicly repudiate the outrageous views of former Heritage staffer Jason Richwine.

  • Senate Judiciary Committee continues marking up bill, considering worker visas and interior enforcement; House group announces agreement in principle.  The Senate Judiciary Committee continued marking up S. 744 this week, spending Tuesday, May 14 amending Title IV of the bill, which deals with nonimmigrant visas (worker programs like H1B and the proposed W-visa).  The Committee voted down by 17-1 an amendment offered by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R–AL) that sought to restrict legal immigration.  On Thursday, May 16, the Committee considered amendments to Title III of the bill, the section that deals with interior enforcement measures such as changes to the E-Verify program.  Meanwhile, in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bipartisan group that has been working on immigration reform legislation announced that they have reached an agreement in principle that includes a roadmap to citizenship.  We look forward to seeing the details in the House agreement and forthcoming legislation.
  • NCLR and Affiliates in action .

California:  NCLR Affiliate TODEC Legal Center gathered its membership and called Sen. Diane Feinstein (D–CA) on Wednesday, May 15, asking the senator to use her position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to protect the roadmap to citizenship, support provisions that strengthen worker protections, and support measures that will reunite separated families.

NCLR Affiliate El Concilio also made calls to Sen. Feinstein’s office this week in support of workable immigration reform, with staff members, community leaders, and even family and friends joining the effort on Friday, May 17.

 univision truck

Univision 34 outside of TODEC Legal Center on May 15, as TODEC members called Senator Feinstein

Texas:  NCLR Affiliates Southwest Key Programs and Vecinos Unidos, along with NCLR staff, leveraged the power of their networks this week, asking their grasstops connections to call Sen. Cornyn (R–TX), a member of the Senator Judiciary Committee, urging the senator to vote yes on amendments that uphold the roadmap to citizenship, protect workers, and reunite separated families.  NCLR and its Affiliates marshaled 36 community leaders to make calls to Cornyn’s office since the beginning of the week.

In addition, Texas State Representatives Gene Wu (D–137) and Alma Allen (D–131) joined with the NCLR Texas Regional Office to send letters to the Texas congressional delegation, asking Texas’s senators and representatives to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship.

Nevada:  NCLR Regional Field Coordinator Fernando Romero participated in a televised press conference Wednesday, May 15, joining America Votes, the Culinary Union, Progressive Leadership Alliance/DREAM Big Vegas, and OCA Las Vegas to ask Senator Dean Heller (R–NV) to come out publicly in favor of immigration reform that includes a workable roadmap to citizenship.  Senator Heller responded from Washington, DC, saying that he supports S. 744 as it currently stands.

Colorado:  NCLR staff in Denver continued educating the community about the status of the Senate’s immigration bill, presenting at the YMCA of Longmont on May 16.  Field Coordinator Jesus Altamirano gave updates on the bill to clients of NCLR Affiliate El Comité de Longmont and to the wider Longmont community and offered attendees an opportunity to make their voices heard in the immigration reform debate.

Florida:  NCLR staff in Miami attended “What Would Immigration Reform Mean for Miami?”, an event on May 10 hosted by Rep Mario Diaz-Balart (R–FL) in Miami.  Rep. Diaz-Balart focused particularly on the economic benefits of immigration reform and argued that the presence of 11 million undocumented persons in the U.S. clearly indicates that our current immigration system is fundamentally broken.

Utah:  NCLR Affiliate Comunidades Unidas issued an action alert this week and last, asking its membership to call Senators Orrin Hatch (R–UT) and Mike Lee (R–UT) and urge them to vote for amendments that improve the roadmap to citizenship, protect workers, and reunite separated families, and to vote against those amendments that would prevent the bill from realizing its fundamental objectives.

Pennsylvania:  NCLR Affiliate Congreso de Latinos Unidos and Rafael Collazo, Director, Political Campaigns, NCLR, met with Sen. Bob Casey (D–PA) on Monday, May 13, encouraging the senator to support comprehensive immigration reform as the bill progresses to the Senate floor in June.

Washington, DC:  On Capitol Hill, NCLR’s legislative team spent the week meeting with members of Congress and staff who are essential to the immigration reform process, including the staff of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R–TN), Sen. Richard Burr (R–NC), Sen. Mark Pryor (D–AR), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D–MO), Sen. Kay Hagan (D–NC), Rep. Paul Ryan (R–WI), and Rep. John Yarmuth (D–KY), as well as with Democratic leadership.

NCLR Affiliates:  To share your recent meetings on immigration with your members of Congress, please fill out the report-back form on our website.

  • NCLR released another “Truth in Immigration” infographic this week, titled “Immigration Reform Will Help Save Social Security.”  The infographic notes that immigration reform will increase revenue for the Social Security Administration by $300 billion over ten years.  Share the infographic on Facebook so your friends can know the truth, and check the “Truth in Immigration” web page frequently for additional infographics that set the record straight on immigration.
  • NCLR PRESIDENT AND CEO JANET MURGÍA CALLS FOR HERITAGE TO DENOUNCE DUBIOUS VIEWS OF FORMER STAFFER JASON RICHWINE: After a number of reports revealed that former Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Jason Richwine, coauthor of a unconvincing Heritage report that warned of the high cost to the government of immigration reform, had argued that Hispanic immigrants are inherently less intelligent than white Americans, NCLR President & CEO Janet Murguía called on Monday for Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint to do more than just accept Richwine’s resignation. Instead, Murguía remarked, DeMint must denounce the absurd work of Richwine, and publicly recognize that Latinos are productive members of society – “makers,” rather than “takers.”  Murguía wrote. “He must not permit his organization to resort to ad hominem attacks.  This includes not employing ‘experts’ who believe Hispanics are inferior, in defiance of both the facts and experience.  Those alleged experts should take a look at the latest Pew Hispanic report, which shows that a higher percentage of Hispanics than Whites are enrolling in college.”

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