Action Alert: Call your Senators every day!

June 27 Update – Final vote in the Senate is TODAY!

CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW!

The Senate will take its FINAL vote on Immigration Reform TODAY!

TODAY, Thursday June 27, the Senate will likely take its FINAL vote on the bipartisan immigration reform bill S.744.

Call TODAY to tell your Senators that you support immigration reform and lift up your voice on the bill.

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at www.senate.gov

When you call, tell them your City, State and Congregation, and that you support immigration reform. Specifically tell them how you feel about the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill S.744.

BACKGROUND ON S. 744

S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act includes provisions that would create a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented individuals who entered the U.S. before January 1, 2012 and meet other eligibility criteria. The first step on the pathway would be to apply for “Registered Provisional Immigrant” (RPI) status, which comes with work and travel authorization. After six years, individuals in RPI status would have to renew their status, and after 10 years in RPI status individuals could apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Then, after three years in LPR status, individuals could apply for U.S. citizenship. Fines for this process total $2,000 per person. The bill would put in place a stay-of-removal so that qualified individuals are not deported before implementation begins. Individuals who qualify for the pathway to citizenship could include their spouse and children (under 21) in their application, so that families can go through this process together. Individuals who have been in the United States with Temporary Protect Status, Deferred Enforced Departure, or another legal status for more than ten years would be immediately eligible for LPR status. DREAMers – defined by this bill as individuals of any age who entered the U.S. before they turned 16 – and agricultural workers would also have a shortened pathway to citizenship.

However, the pathway to citizenship would be contingent upon border and interior enforcement ‘triggers.’ Within six months of enactment, DHS would have to submit border security plans to achieve 90% effectiveness in apprehensions and returns through additional fencing, surveillance, technology and personnel. This plan must be submitted before any undocumented person can apply for RPI status. DHS must then certify that these plans have been implemented, additional border fencing is constructed, 20,000 additional border patrol officers are hired, an employment verification system is being used by all employers, and an electronic entry/exit system is fully operational before individuals with RPI status can adjust to LPR status after a minimum of 10 years.

This bill would also improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers and make much needed improvements to the asylum and refugee systems. It would also reunite many immigrant families by clearing visa backlogs, recapturing unused visas, and categorizing spouses and children of green card holders as “immediate relatives. However, the bill would eliminate, 18 months after enactment, the ability for U.S. citizens to sponsor their brothers, sisters, and children who are married and over the age of 31. The bill would also militarize the border with officers, fencing, technological machinery, and the National Guard, and spend additional billions on border and interior enforcement.

Follow @InterfaithImm on Twitter and “like” the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Facebook to receive the most up-to-date alerts on both Senate and House actions on immigration reform. Find Your Senators’ Twitter names on their websites (http://www.senate.gov) and tell them how you feel about immigration reform by tweeting @[name].

June 26 Update – Final vote in the Senate is this week!

CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW!

On Thursday June 27, the Senate will likely take its FINAL vote on the bipartisan immigration reform bill S.744. Call TODAY to tell your Senators that you support immigration reform and lift up your voice on the bill.

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at www.senate.gov

When you call, tell them your City, State and Congregation, and that you support immigration reform. Specifically tell them how you feel about the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill S.744.

BACKGROUND ON S. 744

S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act includes provisions that would create a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented individuals who entered the U.S. before January 1, 2012 and meet other eligibility criteria. The first step on the pathway would be to apply for “Registered Provisional Immigrant” (RPI) status, which comes with work and travel authorization. After six years, individuals in RPI status would have to renew their status, and after 10 years in RPI status individuals could apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Then, after three years in LPR status, individuals could apply for U.S. citizenship. Fines for this process total $2,000 per person. The bill would put in place a stay-of-removal so that qualified individuals are not deported before implementation begins. Individuals who qualify for the pathway to citizenship could include their spouse and children (under 21) in their application, so that families can go through this process together. Individuals who have been in the United States with Temporary Protect Status, Deferred Enforced Departure, or another legal status for more than ten years would be immediately eligible for LPR status. DREAMers – defined by this bill as individuals of any age who entered the U.S. before they turned 16 – and agricultural workers would also have a shortened pathway to citizenship.

However, the pathway to citizenship would be contingent upon border and interior enforcement ‘triggers.’ Within six months of enactment, DHS would have to submit border security plans to achieve 90% effectiveness in apprehensions and returns through additional fencing, surveillance, technology and personnel. This plan must be submitted before any undocumented person can apply for RPI status. DHS must then certify that these plans have been implemented, additional border fencing is constructed, 20,000 additional border patrol officers are hired, an employment verification system is being used by all employers, and an electronic entry/exit system is fully operational before individuals with RPI status can adjust to LPR status after a minimum of 10 years.

This bill would also improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers and make much needed improvements to the asylum and refugee systems. It would also reunite many immigrant families by clearing visa backlogs, recapturing unused visas, and categorizing spouses and children of green card holders as “immediate relatives. However, the bill would eliminate, 18 months after enactment, the ability for U.S. citizens to sponsor their brothers, sisters, and children who are married and over the age of 31. The bill would also militarize the border with officers, fencing, technological machinery, and the National Guard, and spend additional billions on border and interior enforcement.

Follow @InterfaithImm on Twitter and “like” the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Facebook to receive the most up-to-date alerts on both Senate and House actions on immigration reform. Find Your Senators’ Twitter names on their websites (http://www.senate.gov) and tell them how you feel about immigration reform by tweeting @[name].

June 21 Update – Please call TODAY and keep calling!

Today, Friday, June 21st, the Senate will continue to vote on amendments to the bipartisan immigration bill S.744. Yesterday your calls make were successful in tabling Senator Cornyn’s RESULTS amendment, which would have mandated unreasonable triggers that could have indefinitely delayed the path to citizenship. Please call TODAY and keep calling to defeat negative amendments and win sensible improvements to the bill!

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at www.senate.gov

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 YES to Hirono #1504, Cardin #1294, Blumenthal #1327, Stabenow #1405, and Boxer #1240 to help women, children, families, refugees, border communities, and immigrants who volunteer and contribute to our communities.”

I also urge the Senator to vote NO to amendments that would prevent many of our community members from accessing the path to citizenship, or delay the path to citizenship by imposing additional enforcement triggers.”

SUPPORT AMENDMENTS TO HELP WOMEN, CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND REFUGEES

SUPPORT SENATOR HIRONO’S AMENDMENT #1504, which would help women and families enter through the merit-based system. This amendment is sponsored by 12 women senators, including Senator Murkowski (R-AK).

SUPPORT SENATOR CARDIN’S AMENDMENT #1294, which would allow immigrants who are contributing to our communities through volunteer service to access the path to citizenship, even if they are not currently employed. Currently, S.744 requires that people are employed in order to access all steps of the path to citizenship. Cardin #1294 would allow them to instead present proof of volunteer service with records from government, non-profit organizations and faith-based institutions. The amendment would provide relief for those facing prolonged unemployment during difficult economic times, those who are unemployed because they challenge illegal and dangerous conditions in the workplace.

SUPPORT SENATOR BLUMENTHAL’S AMENDMENT #1327, the “Little Dreamers” amendment, which would provide access to the youngest DREAMers (currently under age 13) the same path to citizenship as older DREAMers. It’s only fair for the roughly 630,000 children who aren’t old enough to have graduated from high school but who meet the other requirements of the DREAM title and who are enrolled in school to access the same 5-year path to citizenship. Under the bill as currently written, these children would have to wait 10 years. 10 years is a child’s entire life, and is too long to wait for the youngest DREAMers.This amendment already has bipartisan support. Besides being fair, it will increase the academic achievement of the youngest DREAMers, increasing high school graduation and college entrance rates, leading to increased earnings and increased tax revenue. The Little Dreamers Amendment ensures that immigration reform does right by children who are growing up in our country and deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

SUPPORT SENATOR STABENOW’S AMENDMENT #1405, which has also been introduced as the Domestic Refugee Resettlement Reform and Modernization Act of 2013, S. 883 and would be a significant step towards ensuring better support to communities that welcome refugees resettled to the United States and improving the services offered to ensure these vulnerable newcomers become self-sufficient. Improve the way the federal government provides funding to states and local resettlement organizations to ensure that communities and refugees receive appropriate levels of assistance, and expand data collection and reporting regarding refugees’ mental health and medical needs, long-term employment and self-sufficiency.

SUPPORT SENATOR BOXER’S AMENDMENT #1240, which would require that all National Guard and Coast Guard officials who are stationed along the border receive the same training programs in immigration law enforcement, vulnerable populations, and responding to children and victims of crime. The current bill requires this training for border patrol agents, but leaves out these National Guard and Coast Guard officials. Everyone patroling the border should be specifically trained in these issues.

OPPOSE AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD NARROW OR DELAY THE PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

SENATOR RUBIO’S AMENDMENT #1225 AND SENATOR FISCHER’S AMENDMENT #1348 would require individuals to pass the English and civics exam currently required for citizenship in order to even receive RPI status (Fischer #1348) or adjust to LPR status (Rubio #1225). These amendments would restrict many of our community members from accessing RPI and LPR status, and thus prevent them from sponsoring 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 study…to 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 AMEDNMENT #1299 would bar individuals who have been a member of a gang from entering the U.S. or, for those who are here, pursuing the path to citizenship. It would expand the term “criminal gang” to mean an ongoing group, club, organization, or association of 5 or more persons that has as 1 of its primary purposes 1 or more criminal offense”. This could prevent access to the path to citizenship for many individuals who were members of gangs in their youth but who have changed their lives and are contributing members of our communities.

SENATOR WICKER’S AMENDMENT #1229 would revoke RPI status from someone who leaves the U.S. for more than 180 days, utilizes Federal means-tested benefits, uses a fraudulent document, or is no longer eligible for such status. This could prevent people from traveling to see a sick family member and or from finding health services for their children.

SENATOR SESSIONS’ AMENDMENT #1334 would change in the definition of “aggravated identity theft” from the possession of the identification “of another person” to the possession of identification “that is not his or her own”. This would eliminate the ability of many immigrants who have used fake documents to get by from ever applying for RPI status.

SENATOR CRUZ’S AMENDMENT #1320 would replace current border provisions with more burdensome requirements and delay the processing of applications for RPI status until these border security requirements are met.

OPPOSE AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD HURT REFUGEES & VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

SENATOR INHOFE’S AMENDMENT #1203 would radically expand immigration detention, including arriving asylum seekers and longtime lawful permanent residents with misdemeanor offenses, and remove basic due process. It would extend mandatory detention to individuals with old convictions who have been free for years and leading productive lives, and would bar Immigration Judges from ordering the supervision of immigrants on secure and cost effective alternatives to detention. It would also authorize the indefinite—or potentially lifelong—detention of broad categories of people, without meaningful judicial review.

ALL OF SENATOR GRASSLEY’S AMENDMENTS, Specifically #1307, #1399, #1400, #1401 and #1402

Grassley #1307 would eliminate the Office of Legal Access Programs, which in the current bill are designed to provide crucial legal orientation to make the immigration proceedings more efficient and cost effective. Eliminating this program would prohibit detained individuals from fully understanding their legal rights and make immigration proceedings less manageable.

Grassley #1399 would strike Section 3403, which in the current bill to codify the Lautenberg Amendment, which has been renewed by Congress since 1990 in and allows designation of certain refugees (in particular persecuted religious minorities) for resettlement for humanitarian reasons or when resettlement is in the national interest.

Grassley #1400 would strike Section 3405 currently in the bill that would provide a small number of stateless persons (men, women, and children who are citizens of nowhere) a path to legal status in the U.S. Without a nationality, stateless persons are vulnerable to exploitation and face undue hardships – family separation, threat of detention, employment difficulties and the inability to leave the U.S. They live in a constant state of limbo and uncertainty.

Grassley #1401 would strike Section 3401, which in the current bill would remove the one-year filing deadline for asylum applications. DHS has asked to remove this one-year arbitrary deadline, which is ineffective at detecting fraud and disproportionately affects the most vulnerable (especially women) who are afraid to reveal their story or do not understand that their fear of persecution merits protection in the U.S. The one-year deadline should be removed, so this amendment should fail.

Grassley #1402 would strike Section 3404, which in the current bill provides asylum officers with initial jurisdiction to decide an asylum claim after a credible fear of persecution is established. This amendment would perpetuate current costly and unnecessary barriers to protection.

OPPOSE COBURN #1350, which would eliminate the Office of Legal Access Programs. In addition, this amendment would eliminate the option of an undocumented detainee from being granted counsel. As the bill stands, it allows for the appointment of counsel in certain cases; however, this amendment would not allow any undocumented detainee from being granted counsel. As immigration proceedings can be confusing, deterring a detainee from having counsel infringes on due process. This would be unfair and would harm many individuals, including asylum seekers who have a right to seek refuge in the United States.

June 20 Update

Calls Needed TODAY, Thursday, June 20

The Senate will continue to vote on amendments to the bipartisan immigration bill S.744 today, Thursday, June 20th. Yesterday your calls make were successful! Paul #1200 which was tabled, which would have hurt refugees and delayed the path to citizenship, and Lee #1208 failed, which would have delayed the path to citizenship. Please call TODAY and keep calling to defeat negative amendments and win sensible improvements to the bill!

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at www.senate.gov

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 amendments sponsored by Senators Cornyn, Inhofe, Cruz, Rubio, Fischer, Grassley, Wicker, and Sessions, which would expand detention, significantly delay the path to citizenship, and prevent many of our community members from accessing the path to citizenship.

I also ask the Senator to SUPPORT Senator Hirono’s amendment #1403 to help women and families access the visa system, and Senator Boxer’s #1240 to ensure training for all officials along the border.”

OPPOSE AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD EXPAND DETENTION AND DELAY THE PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

SENATOR CORNYN’S “RESULTS” AMENDMENT #1251 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 lacking clear justification. Cornyn may file another amendment to be considered today that would narrow who is eligible for the path to citizenship. SENATOR INHOFE’S AMENDMENT #1203 would radically expand immigration detention, including arriving asylum seekers and longtime lawful permanent residents with misdemeanor offenses, and remove basic due process. It would extend mandatory detention to individuals with old convictions who have been free for years and leading productive lives, and would bar Immigration Judges from ordering the supervision of immigrants on secure and cost effective alternatives to detention. It would also authorize the indefinite—or potentially lifelong—detention of broad categories of people, without meaningful judicial review.

SENATOR CRUZ’S AMENDMENT #1320 would replace current border provisions with more burdensome requirements and delay the processing of applications for RPI status until these border security requirements are met.

OPPOSE AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD PREVENT MANY FROM ACCESSING THE PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

SENATOR RUBIO’S AMENDMENT #1225 AND SENATOR FISCHER’S AMENDMENT #1348 would require individuals to pass the English and civics exam currently required for citizenship in order to even receive RPI status (Fischer #1348) or adjust to LPR status (Rubio #1225). These amendments would restrict many of our community members from accessing RPI and LPR status, and thus prevent them from sponsoring 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 study…to 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 #1299 would bar individuals who have been a member of a gang from entering the U.S. or, for those who are here, pursuing the path to citizenship. It would expand the term “criminal gang” to mean an ongoing group, club, organization, or association of 5 or more persons that has as 1 of its primary purposes 1 or more criminal offense”. This could prevent access to the path to citizenship for many individuals who were members of gangs in their youth but who have changed their lives and are contributing members of our communities.

SENATOR WICKER’S AMENDMENT #1229 would revoke RPI status from someone who leaves the U.S. for more than 180 days, utilizes Federal means-tested benefits, uses a fraudulent document, or is no longer eligible for such status. This could prevent people from traveling to see a sick family member and or from finding health services for their children.

SENATOR SESSIONS’ AMENDMENT #1334 would change in the definition of “aggravated identity theft” from the possession of the identification “of another person” to the possession of identification “that is not his or her own”. This would eliminate the ability of many immigrants who have used fake documents to get by from ever applying for RPI status.

SUPPORT AMENDMENTS TO HELP WOMEN, FAMILIES AND BORDER COMMUNITIES

SUPPORT SENATOR HIRONO’S AMENDMENT #1403 to help women and families enter through the merit-based system. This amendment is sponsored by 12 women senators, including Senator Murkowski (R-AK).

SUPPORT SENATOR BOXER’S AMENDMENT #1240
This amendment would require that all National Guard and Coast Guard officials who are stationed along the border receive the same training programs in immigration law enforcement, vulnerable populations, and responding to children and victims of crime. The current bill requires this training for border patrol agents, but leaves out these National Guard and Coast Guard officials. Everyone patroling the border should be specifically trained in these issues.

June 19 Update

The Senate will continue to vote on amendments to the bipartisan immigration bill S.744 today, Wednesday, June 19th. Calls have been very helpful so far, as Senator Thune and Vitter’s amendments, which would have delayed the path to citizenship until higher standards of enforcement had been met, failed yesterday. Please call TODAY and keep calling so that negative amendments do not pass, and so we can see sensible improvement to the bill!

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at www.senate.gov

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 amendments sponsored by Senators Paul, Cornyn, Rubio, Cruz, and Lee, which would significantly delay the path to citizenship and make it less accessible for our undocumented community members.

I also ask the Senator to SUPPORT Senator Boxer’s amendment #1240 to ensure training for all officials stationed at the border.”

OPPOSE AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD HURT REFUGEES & NARROW OR DELAY PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

SENATOR RAND PAUL’s AMENDMENT #1200 would, in addition to mandating yearly enforcement triggers for all steps of the path to citizenship to continue, increasing mandatory detention, require refugees and asylees to register, interview with and be fingerprinted by the DHS within 30 days of arrival, to be monitored “for indications of terrorism.” Refugee and asylees have already undergone extensive biographic and biometric checks, medical screenings, in-person interviews with the Department of Homeland Security, and inter-agency intelligence background checks, making it the hardest way to enter the U.S. The U.S. has welcomed Iraqis who face persecution due to their service with U.S. troops, Lost Boys of Sudan who fled their country as children, Pro-democracy freedom fighters from Burma, and religious minorities from all over the world. Refugee resettlement honors America’s legacy as a land of freedom for those fleeing persecution., with our communities welcoming refugees and helping them build their new lives. This amendment would cause great damage to refugees and asylees by treating them as a suspect class, and is completely unnecessary given the current and rigorous security screenings already in place.

SENATOR CORNYN’S “RESULTS” AMENDMENT #1251 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 lacking clear justification.

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 study…to 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 CRUZ’S AMENDMENT #1320 would replace current border provisions with more burdensome requirements and delay the processing of applications for RPI status until these border security requirements are met.

SENATOR LEE’S AMENDMENT #1208 would require congressional approval that the border is secure and the employment verification and electronic entry/exit systems are fully operational, before individuals with RPI can adjust to LPR.

SUPPORT SENATOR BOXER’S AMENDMENT #1240

This amendment would require that all National Guard and Coast Guard officials who are stationed along the border receive the same training programs in immigration law enforcement, vulnerable populations, and responding to children and victims of crime. The current bill requires this training for border patrol agents, but leaves out these National Guard and Coast Guard officials. Everyone patroling the border should be specifically trained in these issues.

Follow @InterfaithImm on Twitter and “like” the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Facebook to receive the most up-to-date alerts on amendments being considered in the Senate floor debate. Find Your Senators’ Twitter names on their websites (http://www.senate.gov) and urge them to support positive amendments and oppose negative amendments by tweeting @[their twitter name]. Ex: “@Sen_JoeManchin As a WV person of faith I support #immigrationreform. Please oppose Grassley #1195 which would delay #pathtocitizenship #cir”

June 13 Update

Protect the immigration bill from amendments that would delay or narrow the path to citizenship.

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at www.senate.gov

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

More information on amendments being considered today:

OPPOSE SENATOR RUBIO’S AMENDMENT #1225
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 study…to 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.

OPPOSE SENATOR GRASSLEY’S AMENDMENT #1195
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.

OPPOSE SENATOR CORNYN’S “RESULTS” AMENDMENT
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.

OPPOSE SENATOR VITTER’S AMENDMENTS
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.

OPPOSE SENATOR THUNE’S AMENDMENTS
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.

June 12 Update

Call the Senate TODAY until 12pm!

Protect the immigration bill from amendments that would delay the path to citizenship.

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at www.senate.gov

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 Grassley Amendment #1195, which would significantly delay and undermine the path to citizenship.”

More information on amendments being considered today:

OPPOSE GRASSLEY Amendment  #1195: This amendment 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. This amendment may be voted as early as noon on Wednesday, June 12.

Grassley #1195 is unnecessary and flies in the face of workable policy and real solutions. The pathway to citizenship in S 744 is already tough, long and must be earned. But it must be attainable in order to be effective.  This amendment would further delay a process that already will take at least 13 years. The drafters of the bill worked long and hard to reach bipartisan agreement on the enforcement triggers in the bill, and this amendment undermines that hard-fought bipartisan agreement.

June 10 Update

Now is the time! Call Your Senators EVERY DAY until Immigration Reform Passes!

Call 1-866-940-2439  (or 202-224-3121)

Background: The Senate is considering amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill and will vote on the bill in late June. Key amendments will be considered regarding who is eligible for the path to citizenship, social services available to immigrants, intrusive enforcement practices and border militarization, and changes that could negatively impact refugees and asylum seekers.

Amendments will be considered very quickly, so it’s important that your Senators hear from you NOW and EVERY DAY until the Senate passes immigration reform! Your Representatives also need to hear from you, as many worry that the House will not support a pathway to citizenship for our undocumented community members. You can find your Senators and Representatives’ direct contact information at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.

During the amendment process, we made more than 3,000 calls, and were a big part of defeating the worst amendments and gaining modest improvements to the bill. We need to escalate the number of calls as the full Senate considers amendments and votes on the bill. ALL Senators must hear from their constituents who believe that immigration reform must prioritize family unity and create a clear and accessible pathway to citizenship.

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators.

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 protect the refugee and asylum provisions from negative amendments, and to support amendments that would reunite families, reform enforcement practices to be more humane, and make the path to citizenship more accessible.” 

Follow @InterfaithImm on Twitter and “like” the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Facebook to receive the most up-to-date alerts on amendments being considered in the Senate floor debate. Find Your Senators’ Twitter names on their websites (http://www.senate.gov) and urge them to support positive amendments and oppose negative amendments by tweeting @[their twitter name]. Ex: “@Sen_JoeManchin As a WV person of faith I support #immigrationreform. Please oppose Grassley #1195 which would delay #pathtocitizenship #cir

Also, consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of immigration reform, urging your Senators and Representatives to be champions for family unity, refugees and asylum seekers, a pathway to citizenship, and more humane enforcement practices. Host prayer vigils and other faithful actions near your Senator or Representatives’ office, and get your community involved by writing letters and spreading this alert far and wide.

For resources and more information, go to www.interfaithimmigration.org.

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