Urge your representative to support immigration reform
ACTION: Urge your Representative to support immigration reform legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship, reunites families, and does NOT further militarize the border.
Call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 or find your Representative's direct line.
Sample script: "I am from [City, State, Congregation], and I urge the Representative to support immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship, reunites families, and does not further militarize the border.
As a person of faith, I urge the Representative to OPPOSE bills like the SAFE Act, Agricultural Guestworker Act, and SKILLS Visas Act. These are not real reforms to our immigration system. We need immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship and reunites separated families."
To learn more about the Senate bill and the next steps for the House, visit our Current Legislation page.
Keep up the pressure on social media: Find Your Representative’s Twitter name on their website (http://www.house.gov) and urge them to support a path to citizenship and oppose incomplete and harmful bills like the SAFE and AG Acts by tweeting @[their twitter name].
Ex: "@Raul_Labrador As a person of faith from Idaho I support #pathtocitizenship & #familyunity. Please support #immigrationreform!"
Follow @mccwashington on Twitter.
More information on House legislation
Currently, the House of Represenatives has passed 5 small or "piecemeal" immigration bills through their respective committees. One or more of these bills could come up for a vote in the full House in the coming weeks or months. A bipartisan "Gang of 7" representatives continues to work toward a comprehensive bill. Here are short summaries of the 5 bills:
WHAT IS THE SAFE ACT?
The Strengthen And Fortify Enforcement Act, H.R. 2278 would encourage racial profiling, eliminate the Administrations' protection of DREAMers, expand immigration detention, criminalize overstaying a visa, and harm both community safety and vulnerable populations. Modeled after Arizona's SB1070, this bill would encourage racial profiling, mandating that local law enforcement investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest and detain everyone who they suspect to be undocumented or deportable. The bill would increase and mandate programs that force local police to serve as immigration officials, and would deny states and localities the ability to adjust the implementation of these programs. This bill would also make it a crime to overstay a visa by even a single day and would subject anyone who transports or “harbors” an undocumented person subject to criminal penalties. This would make the act of driving or housing an undocumented family member, neighbor, friend or congregation member a crime.
WHAT IS THE BORDER SECURITY RESULTS ACT?
H.R. 1417 would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to report on the state of operational control of U.S. international borders every 180 days and submit a comprehensive strategy for gaining and maintaining operational control, meaning a 90% apprehension rate of individuals crossing the border, of high traffic border areas within two years. A comprehensive and up-to-date border security technology plan would have to include Department of Defense (DOD) surveillance and technology brought back from Iraq and Afghanistan, including the use of manned aircraft and unmanned drones, more border patrol agents, and specified metrics on the effectiveness of security at ports of entry. DHS would also have to submit certification to Congress and the Comptroller General that operational control of international borders has been achieved, and report annually on resource allocation for optimal staffing levels at all land, air, and sea ports of entry. Although the Border Security Results Act would increase security measures on the U.S.-Mexico border, unlike the Senate immigration bill, it does not specify that additional fencing be built or additional border patrol officers be hired. In fact, there is no additional funding specified for border security (in contrast to the $46 billion specified in the Senate bill).
WHAT IS THE AGRICULTURAL GUESTWORKER ACT?
The "AG" Act, H.R. 1773, would replace the current H-2A agricultural guestworker program with a new H-2C program. It fails to provide any opportunity for farmworkers to pursue a roadmap to citizenship. Instead, they would be required to return to their home country and could only come back to the U.S. as guestworkers, another second-class status. Families would be separated as spouses and children are provided no status. H.R. 1773 would eliminate nearly all protections currently in the H-2A program, allowing for mass exploitation, wage cuts and unsafe working conditions. The bill would reduce wages and withhold 10% of guestworkers' meager wages from their paychecks. To apply for a return of their earnings, H-2C workers would have to travel to a U.S. consulate in their country of origin within 30 days of the expiration of their visa and demonstrate compliance with the terms of the H-2C program. The "AG" Act would also bar federal legal aid programs from representing H-2C guestworkers and discourage workers from filing grievances by mandating they take expensive actions prior to filing a lawsuit.
WHAT IS THE SKILLS VISAS ACT?
The Supplying Knowledge-based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Act (H.R. 2131) would increase science, technology, education and math visas and other work visas, but would also reduce the number of family unity visas. The bill would remove the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their siblings, and would eliminate many already-approved petitions, keeping U.S. citizens from reuniting with their siblings even after their petition has already been approved.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT?
H.R. 1772 would require all employers to use an electronic employment verification system (E-Verify) within two years.Concerns are that the bill lacks proper safeguards and that individuals who are authorized to work could be denied employment or lose their jobs because of unfair hiring or firing practices or governmental error. Also, because the bill lacks a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals, it could create an environment of exploitation as individuals are pushed further into hiding and subjected to the will of employers.
Alert created by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate, July 18, 2013. Adapted from an alert by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.