Week Ending July 24
This week in immigration reform: new poll finds positive voter attitudes toward undocumented immigrants, House passes an anti-immigrant bill, and immigrant integration legislation introduced.
Also worth a read is an article in the New Yorker quoting Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro and highlighting how delays in Congress and the courts impact American families across the country. Tune in to hear Clarissa discuss this and other issues important to the Latino community on Al Punto, Univision’s Sunday morning public affairs program.
NCLR hosts press briefing exploring voter attitudes: This week NCLR hosted an event discussing the implications of new polling data from The George Washington University that found most U.S. voters have positive views of undocumented immigrants. Participating in the forum were NCLR immigration expert Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, GW Associate Professor Michael Cornfield, scholar and journalist Edward Schumacher-Matos, and Republican consultant Katie Packer. Findings show most American voters agree that undocumented immigrants are “family and community oriented” (71 percent) and “filling jobs Americans don’t want” (67 percent). A majority of those surveyed disagreed that undocumented immigrants “are ‘cheaters’ here just to help themselves” (59 percent), “belong to gangs and commit many crimes” (56 percent), or “threaten our traditional American culture” (56 percent).
“The findings show that the majority of voters disagree with Donald Trump’s offensive remarks, and that demonizing immigrants will not win the White House,” said Martinez-De-Castro. “The vast majority of Americans are in a much more pragmatic place than Congress on this issue, and they believe immigrants make valuable contributions to our nation.” Click for the GW report, read about polling on Republican attitudes, and view the entire presentation.
These sentiments echo those offered by NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía last week at the close of NCLR’s Annual Conference. She said:
“Hispanics—immigrants and citizens alike—continue to contribute to the lives, and the livelihoods, of all Americans. We are doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and scientists. We care for the country’s children and tend to the elderly. We plant and pick the food Americans eat every day. We build the buildings Americans work in, and clean them after everyone else has gone home. That is part of our country’s heritage too. The likes of Donald Trump disparage that heritage. But even worse, they also demean the proud heritage of the Republican Party… So, to my Republican friends, I ask you, I plead with you, indeed, I demand of you: stand up for your heritage. And I’ll stand with you.”
You can read the entirety of Janet’s remarks here.
House passes bill punishing cities that seek greater trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve: In the wake of a tragic incident in San Francisco, House Republicans passed hastily introduced legislation that would bar cities that choose to limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement from receiving certain federal funds. NCLR strongly opposes this bill and submitted testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. Martinez-De-Castro writes: “During this time, we urge a respectful dialogue that protects all communities. Labeling immigrants as criminals is not only harmful, it is incorrect. A report by the American Immigration Council demonstrates that increased immigration to the United States has in fact coincided with a significant decrease in both violent and property crimes nationwide. We know that the majority of the immigrant population comes to this country to reunite with family and work, and make meaningful contributions that enrich their communities.
Furthermore, what we have seen as a result of the entanglement of immigration enforcement and local law enforcement is an increase in racial profiling. There is widespread evidence that delegating to states and localities the enforcement of federal immigration laws threatens civil rights and subjects entire communities to unlawful law enforcement stops, arrests, and detention.” Read the statement and a related piece by the Center for American Progress.
Immigrant integration bill introduced in the House: This week Congressman Cardenas (D-Calif.) and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) introduced H.R. 3201, the New American Success Act of 2015, to promote the integration and naturalization of immigrants in the U.S. According to a press release, the bill would “channel funding to provide lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with better access to English-language and civics programs and other support through the naturalization process, and create a grant program to reduce barriers to citizenship and establish ‘Integration Success Grants’ to encourage integration partnerships among states, municipalities and nonprofits.” NCLR supports efforts like this to improve the outcomes for new Americans and to support communities already welcoming immigrants across the country.