Immigration Reform Marches On

by Cozen O'Connor

Immigration Reform Marches On

August has been a busy, productive month for immigration reform advocates. From the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s historic March on Washington, to Women’s Equality Day in Seattle, to town halls across the country, a broad coalition of Americans stood up in support of fixing our broken immigration system.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. August 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, the White House celebrated various immigrant populations by releasing fact sheets that highlighted their contributions to our country’s culture and economy, as well as the ways in which the Senate Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744) can better serve their communities.  Cecilia Muñoz further championed the cause and explained why the immigration issue is inextricably linked to Dr. King’s message in her White House blog post last week:

Then as now, immigration reform was about restoring fundamental fairness to an outdated, broken system. Then as now, it was about reuniting families, creating an avenue for people with needed skills, and ensuring that everyone plays by the same set of rules. Then as now, it was about doing the hard work of making sure our nation makes progress on its road to becoming a more perfect union. And then as now, it enjoyed bipartisan support even as it faced obstacles from political figures who are doing everything they can to stand in the way of progress.

You can read the Director’s full article here.

As we move through September, keep up the momentum, continue to organize, and please share this information with your networks.  The time is now for commonsense immigration reform!

Julie Chavez Rodriguez
Associate Director
White House | Office of Public Engagement

Agency Updates

Readout of Secretary Napolitano’s Meeting With Business Leaders on Commonsense Immigration Reform

August 12, 2013
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director John Sandweg traveled to Cincinnati where they met with business community leaders to discuss the need for commonsense immigration reform.  “Over the past few months, I have heard from many business leaders about how critical immigration is to businesses. That’s why we were encouraged by the passage of the immigration legislation in the U.S. Senate, which would make critical changes to the legal immigration system,” said Secretary Napolitano.  “Together, these reforms will help us support businesses and improve our economy, while helping us continue to strengthen border security.”

HSI, Mexican Government Host Human Trafficking Awareness Training

August 26, 2013
U.S. and Mexican government agencies came together to host a human trafficking training conference for judges, prosecutors, forensic specialists, psychologists and researchers Aug. 19 to 23 in Guadalajara. The conference was hosted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the National Institute for Immigration. More than 100 representatives of the PGR and other government entities in the state of Jalisco learned how to identify potential human traffickers and victims of human trafficking and related crimes. As a result of the training, the host agencies also hoped to increase collaboration between the United States in Mexico to combat human trafficking.

Blog Highlights

Bipartisan Support for Immigration Reform Strengthens During August Recess
In hundreds of town hall meetings, business roundtables, vigils, pilgrimages and rallies across the country, supporters of immigration reform including evangelicals, business owners, labor and law enforcement leaders, are asking their representatives to pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system as soon as they return to Washington in September.

Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Case for the Agricultural Industry
On August 13, Jason Berry the owner of Berry Farms in Vivaldia, Georgia joined a call with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to highlight the important economic benefits of immigration reform to the agricultural industry.  Check out Jason’s video here.

The Economic Benefits of Providing a Path to Earned Citizenship
On August 13, the White House released a report detailing the economic benefits of providing a path to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the U.S. shadow economy. As highlighted in the report, a range of economic research has shown that immigrants living and working in the United States without authorization are earning far less than their potential, paying much less in taxes, and contributing significantly less to the U.S. economy than they would if they were given the opportunity to gain legal status and earn U.S. citizenship.

One Year Anniversary of Implementation of Deferred Action Policy for DREAMers
On August 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began implementing a policy that makes our immigration system more representative of our values as a nation. On this day, DHS began accepting requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – a policy that provides young people who were brought to the United States as children with temporary protection from deportation if they can demonstrate that they meet several criteria.

American Businesses Support a Path to Citizenship, a Shot at the American Dream Commonsense comprehensive immigration reform isn’t just something that makes sense to 68 members of the United States Senate or a majority of the American people – it also makes sense to American business.  In fact, there is a rich history of employers helping their employees achieve the American dream of citizenship.  And our legal immigration system provides avenues for employers to apply for green cards for their employees, which is a critical step toward the path to citizenship for immigrants.

The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: Travel and Tourism
Our outdated immigration system has hindered our ability to attract legitimate international travelers and the best foreign workers. This isn’t good for the economy or the country. This is why Congress needs to pass comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration system: doing so would go a long way to grow our economy, create jobs and improve America’s ability to compete for the best global talent.

DHS Releases New Training Materials for Law Enforcement
On August 15, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released new resources to protect immigrant victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other serious crimes. The new tools were developed by DHS’s Blue Campaign in collaboration with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project at American University, Washington College of Law.

Citizenship and Our Global Competitive Advantage
Dilawar Syed, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley-based Yonja Media Group, shares his personal immigration story and discusses how streamlining and improving the immigration system can help future drivers of the U.S. economy.

African Leaders Meet to Discuss Immigration Reform
On August 23, the White House met with a group of African leaders to discuss the benefits of commonsense immigration reform for African immigrant communities. The meeting coincided with this weekend’s festivities marking the anniversary of Dr. King’s historic March on Washington.  The forum presented an opportunity to celebrate African immigrant communities and their contributions to this country while reaffirming a shared commitment to fixing our broken immigration system.

Becoming a More Perfect Union
Cecilia Muñoz contributes to a series of blog posts written by Administration officials in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington: “As we reflect on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, much has been said about what has changed in fifty years – and what has not changed enough. As Congressman John Lewis reminded us – at both the 1963 and 2013 marches – we have work to do on voting rights, on jobs, on equality of opportunity in this country.  He’s right about that, and about another thing: he used part of his brief speech to call out the need to pass an immigration reform measure, to ‘bring [immigrants] out into the light and set them on a path to citizenship.’”

The Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
On August 26, Secretary Jewell celebrated Women’s Equality Day at a naturalization ceremony that took place at the Refugee Women’s Alliance in Seattle, Washington.  In this blog post, she reflects on her own experience as an immigrant from England and explains why now is the time to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

An Immigration Reform for a Nation of Immigrants
On August 30, Cecilia Muñoz posted a blog addressing common questions about how the current immigration debate affects our country’s economy and African immigrants.  She explained why it’s clear that immigration reform fits squarely in the President’s agenda to make sure that policymakers in Washington do everything they can to build a better bargain for the middle class, growing our economy in a way that ensures that we all benefit.  

Get Involved

Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman – Third Annual Conference
Save the date for this conference on October 24 at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.  The theme for this conference is “Government and Stakeholders Together: Improving Immigration Services.”  For general inquiries, contact



DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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