This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending February 7

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Week Ending February 7, 2014

This week in immigration reform: one week after releasing principles to guide work on immigration reform legislation, House Republicans are back to giving excuses on why they’re not working on a bill; a new poll finds that voters strongly prefer reform that features legalization and a road to earned citizenship over an enforcement-first approach; immigration authorities announce they are updating the N-400 form, used by those applying for citizenship, with new questions; and NCLR Affiliates push for action on reform by organizing calls into Congressional offices and meeting with their representatives, while an ELC group in Minnesota begins a fast to call attention to the need for reform.  NCLR kept the community informed as always this week, with staff quoted in the Washington PostNew York Daily News, Excelsior, Takepart.org, the Latin Post, and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Republicans continue to give excuses for lack of action on reform.  It’s been only one week since House Republican leadership released a set of immigration reform principles intended to guide work on legislation, and yet this week the GOP reverted back to giving the nation excuses in place of constructive action.

Putting politics above policy in this way is a bad move for Republicans.  As poll after poll has shown, the American people want to see this issue addressed, and they want it addressed in a manner that includes a path to citizenship.

Some conservatives are pushing back on the false argument that Republicans may fare better if they avoid addressing immigration reform.  Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, says: “We have a problem.” “[Speaker John Boehner] created an expectation in the public and with the Latino public.  We expect him to follow though.  But if they don’t deal with it, we will be handicapped, whoever is the candidate in 2016.”

Poll shows voters think legalization with road to citizenship, not border security, should be top priority.  A new CNN/ORC International poll confirms what poll after poll has found – the American public overwhelmingly supports immigration reform that allows aspiring Americans to earn legal status and pursue citizenship over reform proposals that prioritize border security and enforcement.

Changes coming to naturalization formsU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Tuesday that, starting May 5, 2014, those applying for citizenship will have to fill out an updated N-400 form that features new questions and is double the number of pages.

NCLR Affiliates, among them CARECEN, Hispanic Unity, and Latin American Coalition, will be hosting workshops and otherwise making sure that aspiring citizens apply using the old form while they can, and understand the changes coming to the application form. For more information and tools to learn about the naturalization process, please see www.citizenshipworks.org.

 

NCLR and Affiliates in action. 

Minnesota:  Members of Emerging Latino Communities (ELC) grantee Centro Campesino have been fasting since Feb. 1 to call attention to the plight of families separated by our broken immigration system and to the urgent need for immigration reform, and volunteers plan to continue fasting through February and into March.  Centro Campesino was inspired by the example of the Fast for Families advocates who kept immigration reform in the national spotlight in the final months of 2013.

North Carolina: NCLR Affiliate El Pueblo, in the wake of the release of immigration reform principles by House Republican leadership last week, directed a wave of phone calls, Facebook posts, and tweets to Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) supporting the step forward but calling on Republican leadership to get to work on actual legislation.

Pennsylvania:  The NCLR Action Fund teamed up with partners in the 16th Congressional District and met with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) on Jan. 23 to discuss House Republican plans on immigration reform with the Congressman.

Texas:  NCLR Affiliates and the NCLR Texas office responded quickly to the release of immigration reform principles by House Republican leadership last week, organizing business and community leaders to make calls into key Congressional offices.

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