June 13, 2013

Immigration Reform Amendments - Call TODAY

Immigration Reform: May 9 Vigil
Immigration reform supporters gathering at a vigil in Washington, D.C., on May 9, 2013. Photo: CWS


Call the Senate Thursday, June 13, and protect the immigration bill from amendments that would delay or narrow the path to citizenship.

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or find Senators' direct lines at www.senate.gov.

Feel free to use this sample script.

"I am from [City, State, Congregation], and I support immigration reform. As a person of faith, I urge the Senator to vote NO to Senator Rubio's amendment #1225, and to amendments sponsored by Senators Grassley, Cornyn, Thune, and Vitter, which would significantly delay the path to citizenship and make it less accessible for our undocumented community members."

Oppose

Senator Rubio's Amendment #1225
Senator Rubio's amendment #1225 would mandate that in order for those with RPI status to get a green card, they would have to meet the same eligibility requirements for English and civics as someone applying for citizenship - which is a much higher bar than currently in place for people adjusting their status to lawful permanent residency (LPR). This would restrict a lot of people from being able to adjust to LPR, and thus from being able to sponsor their family members for reunification. The standard currently set in the bill, to allow people in RPI status to adjust to LPR if they are "satisfactorily pursuing a course of study...to achieve an understanding of English and knowledge and understanding of the history and Government of the United States" should remain, so individuals can adjust to LPR and continue learning English to prepare for the citizenship exam.

Senator Grassley's Amendment #1195
Senator Grassley's amendment #1195 would significantly delay access to the initial registration process of the path to citizenship. It would prevent our undocumented community members from obtaining Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI) status until the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) certifies to Congress that DHS has maintained “effective control” over the entire southern border for six months.

Senator Cornyn's "Results" Amendment
Senator Cornyn's RESULTS amendment would mandate unreasonable triggers that could inevitably delay the path to citizenship and increases enforcement costs without a clear strategy and purpose. The Department of Homeland Security would have to ensure 100% situational awareness of the border, full operational control, and fully implement a nationwide employment verification system and biometric entry and exit system at all air and sea ports of entry. This would cost around $24 billion, mostly for adding 10,000 officer and agents. These are extremely high costs for expenditures that lack clear justification.

Senator Vitter's Amendments
Senator Vitter's amendments #1201 and #1228 would needlessly delay the pathway to citizenship until DHS implements US-VISIT (biometric border check-in and out system) and Congress confirms that this has been sufficiently implemented. Not only would this unnecessarily delay the already lengthy 13-year pathway to citizenship, but it would be very difficult for congress to confirm that the US-VISIT system has been sufficiently implemented, especially given the political dynamics inherent in such a vote, and thus requiring congress to confirm could inevitably delay the path to citizenship.

Senator Thune's Amendments
Senator Thune's amendment #1196 would delay the initial step of the path to citizenship - RPI status - until all Southern Border governors approve the Department of Homeland Security's Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy and certify that the strategy has been substantially implemented. Thune's amendment #1197 would require the completion of the 350 miles of reinforced, double-layered fencing before RPI status may be granted and to require the completion of 700 miles of such fencing before those with RPI status can get green cards. This would not only delay the 13-year path to citizenship but doubles down on an ineffective and destructive fencing strategies that have cost U.S. taxpayers well over $49 billion. Thune's #1197 would go even further, and in the meantime needlessly delay the path to citizenship

Follow @InterfaithImm on Twitter and "like" the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Facebook to receive the most up-to-date alerts on amendments being considered in the Senate floor debate. Find Your Senators' Twitter names on their websites (http://www.senate.gov) and urge them to support positive amendments and oppose negative amendments by tweeting @[their twitter name]. Ex: "@Sen_JoeManchin As a WV person of faith I support #immigrationreform. Please oppose Grassley #1195 which would delay #pathtocitizenship #cir"


Update - May 21, 2013

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill, S. 744, allowing the bill to make its way to the Senate Floor for further discussion and a vote from all Senators.

During the amendment process, we made more than 3,00 calls and were a big part of defeating the worst amendments and gaining modest improvements to the bill, specifically helping immigrants in detention, Violence Against Women Act recipients, and children; prohibiting dangerous deportations; discouraging racial profiling; and restricting immigration enforcement actions near schools, hospitals, victims services locations and places of worship.

A full rundown of amendments can be found at www.judiciary.senate.gov. While we were not able to see all of the positive amendments we were pushing for approved, this is still a victory and we will continue to advocate for these provisions during the full Senate floor debate.

Next steps

Senators will be in their home states from May 23 until June 3. In the meantime, the Congressional Budget Office has to 'score' the cost of the bill, which usually takes an average of two weeks. Thus, the debate on the Senate floor is likely to begin as early as June 10th. It will be incredibly important to set up local visits with your Senators and Representatives and their staff in the coming week when they're at home to make sure they know that their constituents care about immigration reform. Make sure to also attend town halls that your Senators and Representatives might be hosting, write letters to the editor and opinion editorials in your local paper, encourage your community members to make calls and write letters to the members' offices, and organize and take part in creative actions alongside immigrant rights' groups to raise your voices in support of immigration reform.

Also, educate your communities that this bill is not currently law - it has a long way to go. Not only do we need to continue to powerfully advocate for the best bill possible to pass the Senate and House, we also need to prevent notario fraud and people advertising that they can help immigrants through this new bill - since it is not law yet.


Update - May 20, 2013

On Monday, May 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering amendments relating to refugees, family unity, and the pathway to citizenship in the bipartisan immigration bill, S. 744. Judiciary committee members need to hear from all people of faith across the country – not just those who live in their states – about how these amendments will impact our communities. Please call all day Monday, May 20 and prepare for calls throughout this week.

Oppose

Graham Amendments #1 and #3, and Cruz #2, 3, 4
Graham #1 would terminate protection for refugees, asylees and stateless persons in the U.S. if they return to their country of origin. Some people risk their lives to return to see a dying loved one, aid with the care and protection of their children, or advance human rights. Graham #3 would require an additional layer of screening for RPI applicants from certain countries, which could delay protection for individuals fleeing persecution. Cruz's amendments would bar undocumented individuals from citizenship and from benefits forever.

All Grassley Amendments
Grassley #25, 26, 27, 52 would strike all of the positive refugee and asylum provisions from the base bill, including provisions that would improve access to life-saving protection for religious minorities in Iran and stateless people currently without legal protection. Grassley #52 in particular would delay positive changes to the asylum and student visa provisions in the bill by falsely conflating them with the Boston Marathon bombings. Grassley #40, 41, 47, 51, 53 would weaken due process and broaden the use of immigration detention. Grassley #7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 17, 21, 22, 37, 42, 43, 44, 45, 73, 74, 76 would make individuals with RPI status not 'lawfully present', which would restrict access to driver's licenses among other things; deny RPI status to individuals who are in removal proceedings, have been accused of gang involvement, ordered deported or denied asylum; restrict the RPI application periods to 12 months; require DREAMers to pay fines; limit the documents that can be used to prove length of time in the U.S.; make more onerous the employment, education and English requirements; and restrict judicial review of adjustment applications, deportations and bars to entry.

All Sessions, Hatch and Lee Amendements
Sessions #3, 10, 12, 17, 33, 34, 39 would penalize immigrants who use public assistance; increase minimum bond amounts; encourage racial profiling and anti-immigrant ordinances; and indefinitely stall the temporary worker program. Sessions #10, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 33, 35, 43, 47, 48 would delete all points individuals could receive in the merit-based system for being a sibling or married child of a U.S. citizen or being from a diverse country; encourage state anti-immigrant laws; deport people during the implementation of the bill; deny individuals based on speculation that they might use public benefits in the future; and restrict individuals who have been deported or committed a minor crime from the pathway to citizenship. Hatch #19, 20 and Lee #16, 17 would prevent vulnerable populations, including those who have sought asylum but been denied, from relief and protection if they have ever attempted to use a false passport. Hatch #3, 5, 14, 23, 24 would mandate DNA samples to apply for the pathway to citizenship; restrict access to health care; and tighten employment criteria and income requirements for those on the pathway to citizenship. Lee #7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 would restrict individuals from the pathway to citizenship if they entered the U.S. after 2009, have ever attempted to use a fraudulent document or re-entered after being deported, limit the documents that can be used to prove employment; and increase back-taxes to be paid.

Support

All Hirono Amendments
Hirono #5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 would allow U.S. citizens to continue sponsoring their siblings and married children over 31, raise the cut-off date for married kids to 39 instead of 31, and improve the likelihood for these family members to be reunited, especially when their U.S. citizen family member has not used the family visa system before or would experience hardship. Hirono #12, 14, 16, 17 would allow individuals to pay fines in installments, allow individuals with registered provisional immigrant (RPI) status to sponsor their spouse and children outside of the U.S., provide access to health care for individuals with RPI status, children and pregnant women, and allow states to provide health care to DREAMers, agricultural workers, and some individuals with RPI status

All Blumenthal, Franken, Coons Amendments and Feinstein #14
These amendments, specifically Blumenthal #1, 11, 14, 15 and Feinstein #14 would expand access to the pathway to citizenship for individuals who entered the U.S. after the bill's deadline of January 1, 2012, as well as individuals who may not be able to meet the income requirements due to a violation of their rights, or who have committed minor crimes such as missing a hearing or immigration-related violations. Blumenthal #1 (The 'Little Dreamers Amendment') would allow children under 18 to access the same five-year path to citizenship currently in the bill for DREAMers.

Blumenthal #2, 7, 8, 13, 17; Franken #7, 9 and Coons #6, 8, 12, 13 would help survivors of genocide and domestic violence; protect children and improve oversight in detention and deportation proceedings; allow asylum seekers to work while they await their hearings; codify ICE policy restricting immigration enforcement actions at schools, hospitals, and places of worship.

*Please note that you likely will not be connected with your own Senator's office through this number, unless they are a specific Judiciary Committee member. This is the best way to raise our voices at this moment. Judiciary members know they are responsible to ALL of us as they consider amendments. Feel free to call 1-866-940-2439 multiple times to connect with all priority Judiciary members. To call directly, see the committee list at www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members.cfm. For more information, go to www.interfaithimmigration.org.

Follow the markup live at a link provided at www.judiciary.senate.gov. On Twitter, use #CIRmarkup,  #SJC (senate judiciary committee),  #timeisnow,  #p2c (path to citizenship). You can also tweet at Judiciary Committee members: @SenatorLeahy, @SenFeinstein, @ChuckSchumer, @SenatorDurbin, @SenWhitehouse, @amyklobuchar, @alfranken, @ChrisCoons, @SenBlumenthal, @maziehirono, @ChuckGrassley, @OrrinHatch, @SenatorSessions, @LindseyGrahamSC, @JohnCornyn, @SenMikeLee, @tedcruz, @JeffFlake


Update - May 17, 2013

On Monday, May 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider amendments relating to refugees, asylees, and other vulnerable populations in the bipartisan immigration bill, S. 744.

Oppose

Graham Amendment #1
This amendment would terminate protection for refugees, asylees and stateless persons living in the U.S. if they return to their country of origin. People who return to their country of origin are often risking their lives to see a dying loved one, aid with the care and protection of their children, or advance human rights.

All Grassley Amendments
These amendments (specifically #25, #26, #27 and #52) would strike all of the positive refugee and asylum provisions from the base bill, including provisions that would improve access to life-saving protection for religious minorities in Iran and stateless people currently without legal protection. Grassley #52 in particular would delay positive changes to the asylum and student visa provisions in the bill by falsely conflating them with the Boston Marathon bombings. Grassley #40, #41, #47, #51 and #53 weaken due process and broaden the use of immigration detention. Also, Grassley #73 and #74 would negatively impact temporary workers.

All Sessions Amendements, Lee #16, #17, #19 and Hatch #19, #20
These amendments would prevent vulnerable populations, including those who have sought asylum but been denied, from relief and protection if they have ever attempted to use a false passport. Also, these amendments would enable employers to violate the rights of temporary workers by not requiring standard labor laws. Sessions #3, #10, #12, #17, #33, #34, and #39 would penalize immigrants who use public assistance programs; increase minimum bond amounts; encourage racial profiling and local anti-immigrant ordinances; and indefinitely stall the temporary worker program.

Support

All Franken, Coons and Blumenthal Amendments
These amendments, specifically Franken #7 and #9; Coons #6, #8, #12, and #13; and Blumenthal #2, #7, #8, #13, #14, #17, and #18, would help survivors of genocide and domestic violence; protect children and vulnerable individuals and improve oversight in detention and deportation proceedings; allow asylum seekers to work while they await their hearings; codify ICE policy restricting immigration enforcement actions at schools, hospitals, and places of worship; help temporary workers; and expand access to the pathway to citizenship.


Update - May 15, 2013

On Thursday, May 16, and Friday, May 17, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider amendments relating to refugees, asylees and other vulnerable populations in the bipartisan immigration bill, S. 744. In addition, they will continue to consider amendments on worker visas and interior enforcement.

Oppose

Graham Amendment #1
This amendment would terminate protection for refugees, asylees and stateless persons living in the U.S. if they return to their country of origin. People who return to their country of origin are often risking their lives to see a dying loved one, aid with the care and protection of their children, or advance human rights.

All Grassley Amendments
These amendments (specifically #25, #26, #27 and #52) would strike all of the positive refugee and asylum provisions from the base bill, including provisions that would improve access to life-saving protection for religious minorities in Iran and stateless people currently without legal protection. Grassley #52 in particular would delay positive changes to the asylum and student visa provisions in the bill by falsely conflating them with the Boston Marathon bombings. Grassley #40, #41, #47, #51 and #53 weaken due process and broaden the use of immigration detention. Also, Grassley #73 and #74 would negatively impact temporary workers.

All Sessions Amendements, Lee #16, #17, #19 and Hatch #19, #20
These amendments would prevent vulnerable populations, including those who have sought asylum but been denied, from relief and protection if they have ever attempted to use a false passport. Also, these amendments would enable employers to violate the rights of temporary workers by not requiring standard labor laws. Sessions #3, #10, #12, #17, #33, #34, and #39 would penalize immigrants who use public assistance programs; increase minimum bond amounts; encourage racial profiling and local anti-immigrant ordinances; and indefinitely stall the temporary worker program.

Support

All Franken, Coons and Blumenthal Amendments
These amendments, specifically Franken #7 and #9; Coons #6, #8, #12, and #13; and Blumenthal #2, #7, #8, #13, #14, #17, and #18, would help survivors of genocide and domestic violence; protect children and vulnerable individuals and improve oversight in detention and deportation proceedings; allow asylum seekers to work while they await their hearings; codify ICE policy restricting immigration enforcement actions at schools, hospitals, and places of worship; help temporary workers; and expand access to the pathway to citizenship.


Update - May 13, 2013

On Tuesday, May 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering amendments relating to employment-based visas in the bipartisan immigration bill, S. 744. Judiciary committee members need to hear from people of faith across the country - not just those who live in their states - about the impact these amendments will have on our communities.

Support

Senator Blumenthal's Amendments #7, #13, #17, and #18
These amendments would ban hiring discrimination based on national origin or citizenship status, provide whistleblower protections for temporary workers, ensure workers have the right to a pay stub so that they can prove employment status for the pathway to citizenship, and codify current ICE policy restricting immigration enforcement actions where labor violations have been cited, so a threat of raids won't keep workers from reporting abuse.

Senator Schumer's Amendment #5
This amendment would help workers change employers without the risk of losing their visa, and would provide an electronic monitoring system for the program.

Oppose

Senator Sessions' Amendment #3
This amendment would prevent any guest workers from entering the U.S. if the unemployment rate is 5 percent or more. This is such a low threshold that it could effectively keep all guest workers from immigrating to the U.S.

Senator Lee's Amendment #19 and Senator Hatch's Amendments #19 and #20
These amendments would exempt employers of temporary workers from complying with labor and employment laws, thus allowing them to violate the rights of temporary workers; and would limit the ability of individuals and groups from submitting a complaint about worker's mistreatment on behalf of a mistreated temporary worker.

Senator Grassley's Amendments #73 and #74
These amendments would restrict temporary workers (new "W" visa recipients) from renewing their visas, and would require all temporary workers to provide proof that they can and are paying for their own health insurance, which could effectively prevent almost all temporary workers from entering the U.S.


Update - May 9, 2013

Today was a good day. The Senators accomplished a lot under Sen. Leahy’s leadership, closing out Title I after fair consideration of amendments from senators of both parties.

The main takeaway is that they made bipartisan progress; most of the worst amendments were defeated; and the Gang of 8 stuck together on those amendments. Some amendments passed that we are concerned about, but the worst amendments were defeated.

It’s also clear that our opponents are going to continue to use every excuse in the book to try to delay or derail the path to citizenship. We are confident that their actions will fail. This was the first day in a long, grueling process, but our champions are leading and the center is holding. The Committee room was filled with immigrants and their allies, encouraging and calling on the Congress to finish what they started and pass fair immigration reform for all of our families.

Next week the legislative process will continue, and opponents of immigration reform have new amendments to offer. We will keep working to PROTECT and EXTEND the path to citizenship for all and ensure family unity is at the heart of the reform law.


Original story - May 9, 2013

TODAY is the first day that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering amendments on the bipartisan immigration bill, S. 744. Today they will consider amendments on the bill's border provisions. Judiciary committee members need to hear from all people of faith across the country - not just those who live in their states - about how these amendments will impact our communities.

Support

Senator Coons' Amendment #2
This amendment would prohibit dangerous deportation practices that place migrants at increased vulnerability when deported at the Southern U.S. border.

Senator Hirono's Amendment #23
This amendment would protect family values when individuals are apprehended at U.S. borders by taking into account the best interest of children and family unity.

Senator Feinstein's Amendments #6 and #11
These amendments would help border communities by declaring the border area only 25 miles within the U.S. perimeter, as opposed to the current 100 miles, and keep children safe when in border patrol custody.

Senator Blumenthal's Amendment #10
This amendment would help the Federal government discourage and prevent racial profiling by allowing the Attorney General to refuse to reimburse state and local governments for detentions and prosecutions resulting from a violation of the law by a law enforcement official, such as an act of racial profiling.

Oppose

ALL of Senator Grassley's Amendments
Senator Grassleys' amendments (numbers 1, 4, and 6 specifically) could delay the pathway to citizenship for at least six months, if not indefinitely, and would increase border and interior enforcement measures above and beyond what the immigration bill already calls for.

ALL of Senator Sessions' Amendments
Senator Sessions' Amendments (numbers 9, 37, and 38 specifically) would mandate 700 miles of double-layered fencing; strike provisions to provide training to Border Patrol agents on the appropriate use of force, civil rights, cultural sensitivity, and screenings for vulnerable populations, and environmental concerns; and would signal that the use of force, including lethal force, by Border Patrol is permissible.