Immigration Policy Reform
Immigration Reform Stalled...and Problematic
Despite repeated calls from Washington immigration reform lobbyists to push the House of Representatives to vote on immigration reform, the process does appear to be stalled, and more than a year after passage of an immigration reform bill in Senate, immigration reform has finally been declared "dead" by Washington lobbyists and politicians.
Many advocates, NNIRR included, had determined some time ago that final passage of an immigration reform bill was unlikely in the present Congress. If anything, immigration reform action in the Republican-dominated House would produce additional, harsh immigration enforcement proposals. Certainly not the type of immigration reform we want, and not the kind of legislation that would improve the Senate bill, S. 744, which has its own problems.
On Oct. 2, 2013, House Democrats introduced their own proposal (HR 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act), shortly before the Oct. 5 mobilizations, although it has little to no chance of moving forward in the House. Other immigration reform bills have also been thrown into the hopper, and now sit alongside several piecemeal bills (see the 5 bills below) offered by Republican representatives.
While some groups still hold out "hope" that immigration reform will be taken up, they are apparently not distinguishing between "good" and "bad" proposals. At this point, the "bad" proposals have the upper hand; even in a Senate-House conference process to reconcile legislative proposals, decent reform provisions will weigh weakly next to the problematic policies and programs woven throughout the immigration reform "package".
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House Republican Immigration "Standards" (1.28.14) This draft set of principles was released in advance of a Republican Party policy retreat.
Bills that have passed through House Committees:
H.R.1417 -- Border Security Results Act of 2013. "To require the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a comprehensive strategy to gain and maintain operational control of the international borders of the United States, and for other purposes".
H.R. 2278, the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act or "SAFE" Act. "To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to improve immigration law enforcement within the interior of the United States, and for other purposes." (See summaries and analysis of the SAFE Act below)
H.R.1772 -- Legal Workforce Act. "Legal Workforce Act - Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish an employment eligibility verification system (EEVS), patterned after the E-Verify system. (Eliminates the current paper-based I-9 system.) "
H.R.1773 -- To create a nonimmigrant H-2C work visa program for agricultural workers, and for other purposes. "Agricultural Guestworker Act or the AG Act - Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish an H-2C nonimmigrant visa for an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he or she has no intention of abandoning and who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform agricultural labor or services."
H.R.2131 -- SKILLS Visa Act "To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to enhance American competitiveness through the encouragement of high-skilled immigration, and for other purposes."
NNIRR joins dozens of organizations opposing SAFE Act in letter to House leaders (Oct. 9, 2013) The letter, coordinated by CAMBIO, to Speaker Boehner and Democratic leader Pelosi urges that the SAFE Act not be brought to the House floor for a vote, citing the proposal's escalation of the "criminalization" of undocumented immigrants. See analysis below.
House Republicans say they'll act on immigration reform this year (September 22, 2013). Goodlatte hopes the House can begin considering bills next month. Goodlatte, whose committee oversees immigration legislation, has said he is open to granting legal status to otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants. He said they are working on 4 new legislative pieces addressing border controls.
Trust Act Passes California Senate, But Will Jerry Brown Sign it? (September 10, 2013). The California Senate passed the Trust Act and awaits Jerry Brown's signature. Last year he veoted the Trust Act calling it "fatally falwed".
The SAFE Act - Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, HR 2278, was marked-up and approved in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, June 18. This is a highly dangerous proposal that will escalate detentions, deportations and racial profiling. It will increase the "criminalization" of undocumented immigrants and could effectively put even greater barriers before those who might benefit from a proposed legalization program. Two analyses are provided below:
Preliminary Analysis of the SAFE Act - Immigrant Justice Network
Summary of the SAFE Act - National Immigration Law Center
House Immigration Bill Is Said to Offer 3 Paths (By Ashley Parker, NY Times, April 2, 2013)
Obama: immigration Bill Could Pass by Summer (By Julie Pace, AP, March, 27, 2013)
Does immigration reform mean health reform benefits for immigrants? (California HealthCare Foundation, Center for Health Reporting, March 25, 2013)
As immigration reform emerges as a political priority in 2013, NNIRR has participated in a number of conversations and meetings with members and allies on principles and positions, or has endorsed position statements. Click here.
Over the years, NNIRR has taken consistent, rights-based positions on immigration policy and reform proposals. Click here to read and download key documents that reflect our principles and positions.
Go here to see congressional and White House immigration reform positions and documents.
In this section we share a variety of related and useful reports, position statements and reports from the immigrant rights movement and beyond. Click here.
POPULAR EDUCATION TOOLS:
Legislative advocacy CAN be a great community education and organizing vehicle. We encourage community organizers to check out this free download of our BRIDGE module:
This workshop for BRIDGE was created as a tool for organizers, community groups, educators, activists and leaders to support our work to affect and shape the change we want to see. Focused on work at the federal level, the popular education elements of this module can easily be applied to our work at state and local levels. Developed by Rosita Choy and Eunice Cho with input and support from community groups, advocates and activists throughout the country.