This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending March 21

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Week Ending March 21, 2014

This week in immigration reform: one year after the GOP pledges outreach to Latinos, the party is still failing to deliver on a top priority of Latino voters by blocking progress on immigration reform; a new study by Pew Research finds that the vast majority of deportations in 2012 were done solely for unlawful entry, rebutting the Obama administration’s claims that it focuses enforcement efforts on criminals and threats to public safety; and the Florida House passes a tuition-equity bill.  NCLR kept the community informed in a number of news pieces this week, with staff quoted in the New York Times, Associated Press, NPR, Univision, The Hill, Reuters, Buzzfeed, Fusion, Houston Chronicle, La Opinion, Modesto Bee, and WMFZ News.

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–One year since the GOP realized it needs to reach out to Latino voters, yet House Republicans continue to block progress on immigration reform.  A year ago, the Republican National Committee (RNC) released a report calling on the GOP to broaden its reach among Latino, Asian, and black voters after assessing what went wrong in the 2012 elections.  If the party wanted to win in future elections, the RNC said, it would have to, among other policy changes, “embrace and champion immigration reform.”

In the one year since the release of the report nothing of the sort has happened. Rather than champion reform, the GOP – House Republican leadership in particular – has stood directly in the way of progress on immigration reform.  266 days have passed since the Senate passed its bipartisan immigration reform bill S. 744, and yet House Republicans have offered nothing in the way of constructive legislation.

Check out our blog post on what the lack of progress on immigration portends for the GOP.

–Pew study finds that vast majority of deportations are for unlawful entry.   A new Pew Research study on the rise of federal immigration crimes from 1992 to 2012 finds that the Obama administration has vastly expanded the number of deportations of individuals who have committed no crime other than unlawful entry.

The study confirms what our community knows: the Obama administration, contrary to its claims that it deports mostly criminals, is ripping apart families by removing millions of people who have committed no crime other than coming to this country without proper authorization.  In 2012 alone, 75% of undocumented immigrants sentenced in federal courts were charged solely with “unlawfully entering or remaining in the U.S.” or for other immigration-related offenses. Of these unlawful entry offenders, 92% were Latinos.

–Florida House passes tuition equity bill.  This week Florida’s House passed a bill by an 81-33 vote that would allow qualifying undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.  The bill, HB 851, still has to pass the Florida Senate and be signed by Gov. Rick Scott before it can become law.

 NCLR and Affiliates in Action

  • California:  NCLR Affiliate TODEC Legal Center drove calls from registered Latino voters into the offices of Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) this week, with callers urging the Congressman to demand that House Republican leadership give the country an immigration reform bill.
  • Maryland: This Wednesday, Mar. 19 the NCLR Action Fund and partner Latino groups met with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to discuss the need for Congressional action on immigration reform.  Along with partners Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), League for United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Vota, and CASA de Maryland, the Action Fund urged the Governor to escalate his efforts in the fight for reform.  Gov. O’Malley pledged to work for a legislative solution in Congress and for administrative relief from the White House.

ImmReformUpdate_3_22_2014_pic1The NCLR Action Fund and partner Latino groups meet with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to discuss how he can escalate his efforts in the fight for reform.

  • Michigan:  NCLR Affiliate Hispanic American Council (HAC) met with Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) this Tuesday, Mar. 19 to discuss the Congressman’s efforts for getting immigration reform passed. Rep. Upton pledged to continue urging House leadership to get a bill on the House floor, and also told HAC that he is working to build momentum for reform among his fellow House Republicans.

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Members of NCLR Affiliate Hispanic American Council meet with Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to urge the Congressman to pressure House Republican leadership for an immigration reform bill.

  • Pennsylvania:  After sustained consultation with the NCLR Action Fund, the City Council of Allentown, Pennsylvania unanimously passed a resolution this Wednesday Mar. 19 calling on Congress to pass immigration reform.  The resolution recognizes the contributions immigrants make to American society and called for reform that keeps families together.

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