House Immigration Reform Bills
On Oct. 2, 2013, Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) and other House Democrats introduced H.R. 15, which is based largely on the Senate Judiciary Committee–passed version of the bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744). Most importantly, the bill envisions a path to U.S. citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The bill is far from perfect. We remain concerned that the 10- to 13-year road to citizenship these bills envision is too long, is extremely narrow, and will be especially difficult for low-income immigrants.
DREAM POLICY TABLE LETTER TO REPRESENTATIVES
We Are United in Support of Immigration Reform That Protects & Promotes the Interests of DREAMers, Their Families, and Their Communities (PDF)
“We . . . write to you as members of the DREAM Policy Table to urge you to support immigration reform that includes an inclusive roadmap to citizenship for immigrant youth, their families, and all of the 11 million aspiring citizens. The DREAM Policy Table is comprised of over 100 youth-led, education, labor, faith-based, civil rights, immigrant rights, and child advocacy organizations that have historically supported passage of the DREAM Act. The undersigned organizations are now united in support of immigration reform that protects and promotes the interests of DREAMers, their families, and their communities.”
• Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, H.R. 2278
• Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 1772
Letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives (June 18, 2013; PDF)
This letter, signed by more than 130 national, state, and local organizations, expresses deep disappointment at the House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of three counterproductive, noncomprehensive immigration-related bills. These bills would create hundreds of thousands of new guest workers, allow the 50 states and also localities to create and enforce their own immigration enforcement laws, and impose an unworkable electronic employment eligibility verification system.The three bills are:
- Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 1772
- Agricultural Guestworker Act, H.R. 1773 (link is to the website of Farmworker Justice) (bill’s text)
- Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, H.R. 2278
SUMMARY OF H.R. 2278
The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act
The SAFE Act was introduced in June 2013 by the chair of the House of Representatives’ Immigration Subcommittee, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), with the support of the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). If enacted, the SAFE Act’s single-minded focus on immigration enforcement will increase detentions and deportations, and create an environment of rampant racial profiling and unconstitutional detentions without fixing the immigration system’s problems.
H.R. 2278 would subject anyone who appears to be an “immigrant” to unjustified detention and all undocumented immigrants to criminal prosecution, and would delegate unchecked immigration enforcement authorities to states, leaving the federal government to foot the bill.Here are five reasons to oppose H.R. 2278.
- Letter to House Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi from Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Police Executive Research Forum, and police chiefs and sheriffs (PDF)
- Letter to California representatives in the House from California organizations (PDF)
- Letter to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi from national, regional, state, and local organizations (PDF) — drafted by CAMBIO, the Campaign for an Accountable, Moral, and Balanced Immigration Overhaul
Testimony of Karen C. Tumlin, Managing Attorney, National Immigration Law Center, submitted to the House Committee on the Judiciary, 6/13/13.
“The SAFE Act . . . focuses on immigration enforcement without fixing the legal immigration system’s problems. It is widely recognized that now is the time for commonsense reform that creates a road to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants and addresses the country’s needs for an immigration system that strengthens families and bolsters the economy. An enforcement-only approach to immigration will not solve the current problems with our immigration system—problems that we can all agree upon—and this bill proposes only more of the same. Even more troubling, the SAFE Act, if enacted, would radically alter the nature of federal immigration enforcement by vesting enforcement decisions in the hands of state and local actors without federal oversight. NILC’s firsthand experience with laws and policies similar to the SAFE Act have convinced us that it will create an environment of rampant racial profiling and unlawful discrimination and breed distrust of law enforcement, which decreases public safety.”
The Legal Workforce Act of 2013 (H.R. 1772)
Introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith. Would require U.S. employers to use an electronic employment eligibility verification system, or EEVS.