Friday, June 14, 2013

Update on immigration bill--ACT NOW!

The Senate is expected to continue debate on the bill beginning Monday and proceed to vote on amendments on Tuesday. Thanks to all of our calls, the Senate voted to table Grassley’s amendment #1195 yesterday. This amendment would unnecessarily delay the initial step of the path to citizenship for the millions of people who would qualify to obtain Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status. Now is the time for us to stay strong and remain engaged in the debate. The following amendments, which would significantly delay and restrict access to the path to citizenship, will be considered on Tuesday. These amendments are not in line with our General Assembly policy, which calls for an inclusive path to citizenship without long waiting periods or irksome conditions and opposes the continued militarization of our Southern border.

Families call for an end to deportations 
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 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 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 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 #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 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.

Please call TODAY and keep calling through Tuesday to ensure these negative amendments do not pass!
Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

If you are having problems, you can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators' direct lines at

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 Cornyn, Thune, and Vitter, which would significantly delay the path to citizenship and make it less accessible for our undocumented community members."