Week Ending October 9
This week in immigration reform: White House commemorates 1965 Immigration Act; Survey finds DACA recipients making positive contributions; and U.S. Senate attacks sanctuary city legislation.
White House Recognizes 50TH Anniversary of Immigration Act: Last week marked the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the White House joined organizations across the country in recognizing the momentous law. On Monday, fourteen new Americans from countries such as Vietnam, Chile, Venezuela, and Ethiopia were sworn in during a special naturalization ceremony on the White House grounds. The 1965 Immigration Act was significant in creating the demographic makeup seen in America today by prohibiting discrimination based on country of origin. As a result, the Pew Research Center reports that the nation’s foreign-born population is more diverse and has grown nearly fivefold in the past 50 years, from 9.6 million to 45 million. In a statement, President Obama remarked, “immigration contributes to our economic growth by allowing hard-working, entrepreneurial individuals from around the world to pursue the American dream.”
New Report Finds DACA Recipients With Improved Outlook On Future: A report released this week by United We Dream shows that recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have made significant personal and professional gains since applying for DACA status. A survey in the report found that 90 percent of respondents had acquired a driver’s license, 40 percent had bought their first car, and over half (51.9%) got their first credit card. Over three in four respondents reported finding a new job since DACA, and 51.7 percent reported obtaining a higher paying job. Perhaps most uplifting is that the survey found that 80 percent of immigrants felt more likely to achieve their career goals, and over 70 percent say that they now feel more like they belong in the United States. NCLR and our Affiliates have been taking active roles in DACA outreach, with organizations like the Latin American Youth Center hosting DACA clinics.
U.S. Senators Face Debate Over Sanctuary Cities: Senate Republicans plan to bring a bill to a vote later this month that would withhold important funding sources from localities that establish community trust policies. Opposition to the legislation includes civil rights organizations, community development organizations, organizations that support survivors of domestic violence, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The bill was introduced at the end of July, but disagreement over the inclusion of a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years for an illegal reentry offense, a clause supported by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has prevented the legislation from being debated in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This week, GOP Senators have requested Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bill straight to the Senate floor, a process which began on Wednesday.