The Common Good

Immigration Reform Groups Resume Fight

Source: Politico
Date: October 21, 2013

With the brutal fiscal fight now in Capitol Hill’s rearview mirror, immigration reform advocates from across the spectrum are ramping up the pressure on lawmakers to pass a far-reaching overhaul this year.

The more aggressive wing of the immigration reform community is launching a “week of escalation” that will target the top three House GOP leaders and roughly two dozen other Republican lawmakers. Their goal is a vote on immigration reform this year. And the Evangelical Immigration Table is releasing a letter Monday signed by top faith leaders — a missive that comes amid a nationwide prayer blitz for reform.

There’s a glimmer of hope that the House will pass immigration reform this year, but after the shutdown’s end, it’s faint at best. Although the Senate passed comprehensive reform in June, most House Republicans remain highly skeptical of such sweeping overhauls, and there’s no indication that chamber will move its own package of reform bills anytime soon.

Nonetheless, advocates are resuming the fight.

“The dynamics on this are very different than what we saw on the fiscal issue,” said Ali Noorani, who leads the pro-reform National Immigration Forum. “We’re seeing this groundswell of support for reform from the right; … we don’t see that groundswell from both sides of the spectrum on any other issue.”

In a new letter, the Evangelical Immigration Table urges the House to continue working on immigration and take up reform that includes a pathway to legalization or citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The letter, provided to POLITICO, includes signers from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, as well as Sojourners, and is mostly complimentary of the House, although it criticizes an interior enforcement immigration bill that passed the Judiciary Committee in June.

“The work the House has done on immigration reform thus far is commendable,” reads the letter from the Evangelical Immigration Table, which has convened more than 40 major prayer gatherings and roughly 400 smaller ones scattered throughout 40 states.