Washington D.C. - Yesterday, Speaker of the House John Boehner reassured the far-right wing of the Republican Party and anti-immigrant activists that he would never agree to a conference to hammer out an agreement on a House immigration bill and S. 744, the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill that passed in June. While that statement may have been reassuring to a few die-hard anti-immigration reform activists, it had the opposite effect for the vast majority of Americans. The Speaker’s statement does not stop the clock on the economic, social, and societal costs of doing nothing on immigration. It also does not honor the hard work of Democrats and Republicans who have worked in good faith to pass the Senate bill and negotiate on various fronts in the House.
However, what Speaker Boehner's statement does do is open the door to more protests and public outrage, encourage states to continue to take the lead on immigration policy and leave the administration in the difficult situation of deciding how long they will let Congressional inaction continue before they will intervene. When Congress refuses to act they make themselves less relevant and reinforce the idea that they cannot work constructively to fix our nation's most pressing problems.
Thus, rather than tamp down the flames of reform, the Speaker’s statements will embolden those who will work to fix immigration policy on their own - for better or worse. It’s inevitable that immigration reform will happen it’s just a matter of how much our economy, communities, and the Republican Party will lose in the meantime
Washington D.C. - Today, in an important effort to keep the conversation and momentum on immigration reform moving forward in the House, a group of centrist Democrats introduced their version of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. Although the full text has not yet been made available, it is said to be a modification of the bipartisan Senate bill of the same name adopted earlier this year. Among other reported changes, the House bill takes a different path on border security, incorporating a bill introduced by Republican Congressman Mike McCaul which passed unanimously out of the House Committee on Homeland Security in May of 2013. The House sponsors—including Representatives Garcia, Chu, Polis, DelBene, and Horsford—adopted provisions of the McCaul-Thompson bill as a replacement for the costly, controversial “border surge” strategy adopted by the Senate under the Corker-Hoeven amendment.
Substantively, the comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced today reflects a series of bipartisan policy and political compromises made during deliberations in the Senate. The original co-sponsors represent diverse interests from within the Democratic Party, including the New Democrats Coalition, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
The following is a statement from the American Immigration Council’s Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson:
Washington D.C. - Today, on the one-year anniversary of USCIS’ implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Immigration Policy Center, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California, releases early findings from the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP)—a longitudinal mixed-methods study of the impact of DACA on the educational, labor market, health, and civic engagement outcomes of young adult immigrants.
While the DACA program does not provide permanent legal status or a path to citizenship, it does provide a two-year renewable grant of deferral from deportation for certain young immigrants and allows them to apply for work permits and social security cards. The research finds that DACA is increasing their opportunities for economic and social incorporation. According to the survey, many recipients also seek further social integration beyond DACA. In fact, almost all DACA recipients indicate that they would apply for U.S. citizenship if given the opportunity. The study also shows that DACA recipients are often fearful that family members and friends could be deported at any time.
Overall, the research indicates that although DACA opens up some economic opportunities for young aspiring Americans, it does not address the constant threat of deportation still facing those closest to them, including mothers, fathers, and siblings.
Mary Giovagnoli, the Director of the Immigration Policy Center, was quoted in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article titled, "Keeping Immigration Reform Alive."
"“We are going to see it in 2014, a carefully orchestrated dance toward reform,” said Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Policy Center. Politicians will have “breathing room after the primaries. We still have a chance at something decent.”
A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is a sticking point for Republicans, understandably since the party already has sent alienated Latino voters fleeing to the open arms of Democrats.
A New York Times article last week pointed out that for many, being able to drive and work legally in the U.S. is a bigger priority than citizenship. “What they really care about is a solution that allows them to overcome their greatest vulnerabilities,” Oscar A. Chacon, executive director of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, told the Times.
Yet, withholding citizenship wouldn’t stand the test of time. As Benito of ICIRR and Giovagnoli noted, such a move would create an official second-class form of residency that runs contrary to the principles of a proud, democratic country."
A recent article in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer cited the IPC's extensive guide to the Senate immigration bill, S.744. The article, titled "Despite calls for action, immigration reform bill's future looks bleak at moment," details the likelihood of the bill passing the House of Representatives.
In a recent op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times titled "How Immigration Reform Would Help Chicago," Stephen Bouman cited the Immigration Policy Center while making the case for the economic benefits of passing immigration reform:
"The Immigration Policy Center’s researchers find that Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers already add tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to Illinois’s economy. Imagine how Chicago’s economy could buzz if all immigrants were buying homes, investing in education, and planning for secure futures."