Immigration Update: Grassroots Movement and National Debate
May 17, 2013 by M. Daniel Carroll R. | 0 Comments
There are two ways of looking at the movement toward immigration reform. One is to focus on the national level, to see what is going on in Washington in Congress. The other is to look at what is happening “out there”, at more local levels.
Something is indeed happening in Washington. Several weeks ago the so-called “Group of Eight” senators announced a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform. A helpful summary of their bill is found on the website of Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, one of its authors (http://www.bennet.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/bennet-group-of-8-introduce-immigration-bill-with-path-to-citizenship-improved-visa-system). This legislation deals with border security, a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, more controls for the work place, and reforms for non-immigrant visas (like guest work permits in agriculture). This proposal is now going through study and debate, with any number of amendments being suggested. We will need to wait to see what the bill actually looks like when it leaves the Senate and is sent for consideration to the House of Representatives, which may have a bill of its own. This process could take months.
Associations of those working toward reform, such as the Evangelical Immigration Table have visited Congress to pray and to visit the offices of Senate and House members. Efforts like these to encourage them to vote in favor continue.
There also is other movement going on at the national level, but outside of Washington. For example, these last few days I have been participating in the HANA Consultation. It is taking place on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the Chicago area under the auspices of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding. HANA stands for Hispanic and Asian North American. The goal has been to bring together two large immigrant communities to lament for past and present painful stories, to share hope for a better future, and to think through ways to collaborate in projects for constructive change in attitudes toward and treatment of immigrant minority communities. It has been a fascinating time of fellowship, mutual learning, and hard work within the framework of deep Christian convictions. Insights into the discussions can be found on the Henry Center website (http://www.henrycenter.org/media/blog/).
With the academic year ending this weekend, I will be able to post more in the coming days about some of the happenings around immigration reform.