Week Ending June 27, 2014
This week in immigration reform: Friday, June 27 marks one year since the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill, yet the promise of reform remains unrealized because House Republicans have done absolutely nothing constructive on immigration over the course of a year; Reps. Tony Cardenas and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen introduce a bipartisan immigrant-integration bill; NCLR calls for action on the humanitarian crisis of children fleeing violence; and ICE reports that over 72,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported in 2013.
—Bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill turns one year old; in the meantime House GOP has done nothing. One year ago today the U.S. Senate responded to the will of American voters by passing the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744).” This bipartisan bill offered a comprehensive overhaul of our nation’s outdated immigration system and included a much-needed path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
Yet despite the promise of the bipartisan Senate bill and America’s ongoing need for immigration reform, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has obstructed any and all movement forward on immigration reform by refusing to bring similar legislation up for a vote and failing to introduce a solution of their own. Instead, the only actions that the House GOP has taken on immigration are shameful votes to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as well as fruitless, politically-motivated attempts to limit the president’s legitimate discretion on immigration enforcement priorities.
—Reps. Cardenas and Ros-Lehtinen introduce immigrant-integration bill. On Tuesday, June 24 Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) introduced the “New American Success Act,” a bill that would establish a national immigrant integration strategy. The proposed act would create a National Office of New Americans which would coordinate strategies and programs between federal agencies so as to ensure that new arrivals can effectively become contributing members of American society. The bill would also establish grant programs to help immigrants with the legal aspects of the naturalization process and for programs that facilitate the linguistic, civic, and economic integration of immigrants.
NCLR applauded the bill’s introduction and urges members of Congress to support the proposed legislation. Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29) and staff of NCLR, NALEO, and other organizations after Tuesday’s introduction of the New Americans Success Act (photo: @RepCardenas).
—NCLR calls for action on the humanitarian crisis of children fleeing violence. As the humanitarian crisis of children fleeing violence and ending up in U.S. government custody continues to affect thousands of young refugees, NCLR endorsed Senator Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) plan to address the crisis and also called for greater financial support of the many humanitarian, legal, and children’s organizations that have been leading efforts to assist these children.
While Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others traveled to the border to investigate the crisis and meet with detained children, House Republicans held three hearings this week – in the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere – in which they used the crisis as an opportunity for political grandstanding. Much of the conversation on the subject, particularly among House Republicans, has regrettably focused on blaming the Administration for the situation by attacking DACA and immigration policies as the cause of the crisis.
—ICE reports that over 72,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported in 2013. Reports submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee in April reveal that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported 72,410 parents of US born children in 2013, the Huffington Post reports this week.
These numbers reaffirm not only the urgent need for Congress to give America a vote on reform but also speak to the need for the Obama administration to revise its immigration enforcement priorities, given the House’s sustained failure so far to act on immigration reform.