Week Ending September 6
This week in immigration reform: a broad immigration reform coalition delivers over 600,000 petitions calling for immigration reform to Speaker Boehner; Two California House members make compelling cases for immigration reform; ICE issues new directives on detention and enforcement procedures; and NCLR and its Affiliates delivered an August filled to the brim with activities pushing for reform, and are ready to continue fighting for reform in September. NCLR staff kept the community informed this week as always, with staff quoted in pieces by the Associated Press and the Las Vegas Sun.
—600,000+ petitions delivered to Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor: The Time is Now! On Wednesday Sept. 4 the Alliance for Citizenship (A4C) delivered over 600,000 petitions to Republican leaders calling on Speaker of the House John Boehner to give immigration reform a vote. The NCLR Action Fund contributed to this show of massive support for reform. Thanks to all who pitched in for this powerful effort.
Some of the more than 600,000 petitions being delivered by A4C coalition members to Speaker Boehner’s office (photo credit: UFCW Local 75).
—Rep. Becerra (D-Calif.) and Rep. Valadao (R-Calif.) make compelling cases for immigration reform. As the House returns from the August Recess and prepares to address the federal budget and debt ceiling over the next few weeks, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA-34) reminded his colleagues of one effective way the deficit could be lowered: by passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation. He’s right – the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the Senate bill S. 744, as passed, would lower federal deficits by nearly $200 over the next 10 years and by about $700 billion over the following decade. Meanwhile, in an op-ed published this week in The Fresno Bee, Rep. David Valadao (R-CA-21) explained why the time is right for immigration reform, saying: “Democrats and Republicans are much closer to accord on immigration reform than the mainstream media and extremes from both political parties would lead you to believe.”
—Senator Feinstein sends a letter to DHS asking for prioritization of enforcement resources. The California senator urged DHS to focus its resources on its priorities and to use prosecutorial discretion. She wrote: “I respectfully suggest that you adopt a policy of exercising prosecutorial discretion to defer enforcement against agricultural employers and workers, and concentrate instead on removing those who would and have harmed our society, rather than those who contribute to our vital agricultural economy and heritage, and the safe and high-quality food supply that benefits all Americans.”
—ICE issues guidance on the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention and on parental rights in immigration enforcement. Recently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued guidance explaining that solitary confinement must only be used when necessary and established procedures requiring the review and reporting of cases where it is used. Additionally, a Detention Monitoring Council will be established to review and monitor the use of solitary confinement. ICE also released a memo with guidelines on parental rights in the context of immigration proceedings which not only reiterates the existing guidance on prosecutorial discretion, it adds commonsense requirements that must be followed in addressing critical issues such as parent participation in civil child custody matters, and the need for proper arrangements to be made for children following a parent’s deportation. You can read what our colleagues at the Immigration Policy Center said about these directives here and here.
NCLR and Affiliates in action.
NCLR and Affiliates wrap up an August full of action for immigration reform, ready to continue pushing for reform. NCLR, its Affiliates, the NCLR Action Fund and partner organizations wrapped up the August Recess this week, capping a busy month of meeting with members of Congress, directing calls into their offices, signing onto letters and petitions, rallying, and otherwise urging the House of Representatives to give reform a vote on the House floor in 2013. Look for a summary of NCLR’s August activities to come in this update next week.
- Ohio: Former Emerging Latino Communities (ELC) grantee Hispanas Organizadas de Lake and Ashtabula (HOLA) held a rally outside of Rep. Jim Joyce’s (R-Ohio) Painesville, Ohio office on Thursday Sept. 4, calling on him to meet with HOLA and other community partners to discuss the urgent need for immigration reform legislation in the House.
- Texas: NCLR’s Texas office attended a community forum on immigration reform organized by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) on Wednesday Sept. 4 in support of his leadership for reform.