President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and eight Christian leaders met in the Oval Office on Nov. 13 to discuss the faith community's role in passing immigration reform.
Months after the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" announced a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate, little has happened on the legislative front in a political season that has been dominated by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and government shutdown.
Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a progressive Christian social justice group, said that the meeting did not dwell on the specifics of the political challenges facing reform, but rather was the result of the president's curiosity on how the issue had been discussed within the faith community. more >>
The immigration reform strategy emerging from House leaders will depend on revamping immigration policy first, including border security, and then dealing with the issue of "appropriate legal status" for current unauthorized immigrants second, say House staffers working on the issue.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chair of the Judiciary Committee, has been one of the main leaders on immigration reform in the Republican-controlled House. According to a senior staffer with knowledge of the legislation, Goodlatte has three primary goals he wants to accomplish: 1) strengthen border security and enforcement of immigration laws, 2) reform the current immigration system in a way that will help the economy and create jobs for current citizens, and 3) provide an appropriate legal status for current unauthorized immigrants.
Unlike the Senate's immigration reform legislation, Goodlatte does not want to tackle all three of his goals in a single bill, or with different bills at the same time. Rather, Goodlatte and other Republican leaders want to pass legislation dealing with the first two goals before bringing a bill to the floor that would provide a path to legal status for unauthorized immigrants. To that end, Goodlatte's committee passed four bills that address the first two concerns, but there is currently no legislation passed out of a committee that would address what to do about the immigrants currently living in the United States without legal permission. more >>
Recently, Christian author Kelly Monroe Kullberg spoke on a radio program about immigration policy, critiquing the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform bill. Ms. Kullberg suggested that the bill, if passed into law, would result in "open borders," which, she argued, would lead to an increase in human trafficking.
As the President and CEO of World Relief, I respectfully disagree.
I certainly share Ms. Kullberg's concern for victims of human trafficking. Working in partnership with local churches as well as with law enforcement agencies, World Relief serves victims of both sex trafficking and labor trafficking in locations throughout the United States and globally. more >>
The Senate immigration bill is fundamentally flawed and unworkable – that's why I am opposed to this massive 1,000-page bill. As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I have many concerns about this bill, but here are the top 10 takeaways from the Senate bill:
1: Unconstitutional: The Senate immigration bill is a revenue-raising bill, which makes it unconstitutional. Specifically, the bill contains a wide range of effects on federal revenues, including changes in collections of income and payroll taxes, certain visa fees that are classified as revenues, and various fines and penalties. Language in the U.S. Constitution requires any bill that raises revenue, also known as a tax, must originate in the House of Representatives, not the Senate.
2: Legalization Before Border Security: Under the Senate immigration bill, no border security plan has to be implemented before unlawful immigrants receive a legal status and there are no assurances that the border has to be secure. Specifically, six months from the Senate bill's enactment, the Secretary of Homeland Security must submit a border security plan. Once this plan is submitted-meaning that the border does not have to be secure-unlawful immigrants can then apply for legal status, which is called "registered provisional status (RPI)." Adjustment from RPI status to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status can begin when the border security plan is deployed, the border fence and electronic verification system have been implemented, the exit system is being used, and roughly 38,400 Border Patrol agents have been deployed on the Southwest border. However, the Secretary of Homeland Security can ignore these requirements after ten years of litigation or a Supreme Court ruling has prevented these triggers from being implemented. more >>
In an effort to push comprehensive immigration reform, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), will initiate a 40-day fast with the faith-filled hope that Congress will pass the long-awaited reform bill by the end of this year that could legalize 11 million immigrants.
"In the spirit of Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other leaders who have acted on the moral imperative to do justice, as well as our ultimate example found in Jesus, I likewise sense an urgent conviction to engage in the spiritual exercise that in my faith narrative produces great results," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez will begin his fast on Nov. 4 and is urging others to join in on the commitment that he is willing to extend beyond 40 days until the proposed legislation gets passed. For a while now, Rodriguez and other NHCLC leaders have been actively engaged in pushing along immigration efforts while succeeding in garnering the massive support of the Evangelical Christian community. more >>
Most Americans believe that the United States of America is an exceptional country. The "borders test" proves that people are coming to America, not fleeing from America to exit to other countries.
Republicans and conservatives recognize that the principal reason for our unique abundance is our constitutional restraints on the power of government, separation of powers, balanced budgets, and a minimum of government supervision and interference in our daily lives. America offers a remarkable opportunity for foreigners; no matter what socioeconomic rank they were assigned in their native country.
Most of the millions of immigrants we have welcomed came from countries where the only government they knew was one that made all decisions about economic and social policy. The current level of legal immigration to America adds thousands of people every day whose views and experience are contrary to the conservative value of limited government. more >>