Members Learn About Prospects for Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Summer

WDN members heard an update this week from three leaders in the immigration reform movement about the status of the issue as it moves through the U.S. Senate.

The good news is that it looks like the Senate will be voting on the bill by the end of June, and activists are feeling optimistic that it will pass.

The bad news for advocates is that the legislation as currently written excludes same-sex families from provisions regarding reunification.  The bill also excludes siblings and children over the age of 31 from the family reunification provisions.

The experts who joined the call were Kate Kahan from the Center for Community Change, Santiago Garcia from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance and Vivien Labaton, who is consulting for the We Belong Together campaign.

Advocates are hoping for strong support of the legislation in the Senate, which they feel will help with the bill’s passage in the House — where its fate is much less clear.

According to Kate Kahan, the direct participation of immigrant families was essential in keeping the core provisions of the bill intact (the path to citizenship and provisions regarding family reunification).  Immigrant families from the states where members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are from were consistently present, which changed the tenor of the discussions.

“We needed to put the moral center of the debate in the room, so family members were there.  It elevated the tone of the whole thing,” said Kahan.

What is coming next for the campaign is ongoing mobilization of campaign partners to make sure that the positive aspects of the legislation remain.  Next week, We Belong Together is bringing women to DC to do legislative visits and a press conference.

The campaign is soon launching field mobilization in 10 states with partner organizations, and will also be pursuing a communications strategy focused on building support among women for immigration reform. Research they commissioned has found that women are persuadable on the immigration issue.

WDN members can support the campaign by sharing with their representatives more about how the issue affects women, and making sure that they are prepared to staunchly defend these portions of the bill.  The campaign will be providing some talking points to us so that we can make the case with our representatives.

The Senate vote is expected to happen on June 27 or 28.  Stay tuned for updates.

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