An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently reside in the United States. They are our friends, neighbors, classmates, and members of our churches. In recent years, the federal government has expanded the use of immigration detention and other harsh enforcement efforts, resulting in the separation of families and the suffering of communities nationwide. Moreover, many close family members must wait years, even decades, to be able to enter the United States to reunite with their loved ones.
These and other consequences of our current immigration laws compel us to seek reform. LIRS supports a comprehensive solution to the challenge of the United States’ broken immigration system.
If you’re looking for an overview of the current state of play, check out the follow-up resources from our July 2013 webcast briefing on immigration reform legislation in the 113th Congress!
Immigration Reform in the House of Representatives
A comprehensive immigration reform bill has not yet been introduced in the House of Representatives. Instead, several piecemeal bills have been passed in committees, each addressing one aspect of our immigration system. LIRS is concerned this piecemeal approach will perpetuate the shortcomings of our current immigration system. Reforming only select areas of our complex system will not lead to immigration laws that reflect the needs of the country and the God-given dignity of migrants and refugees seeking safety, family reunification, or the opportunity to work in the United States.
The House Homeland Security Committee has passed the Border Security Results Act while the House Judiciary Committee has passed four piecemeal bills reforming different portions of our immigration system:
- The SKILLS Visa Act primarily addresses the employment-based immigration system
- The SAFE Act addresses the enforcement of our immigration laws
- The Legal Workforce Act addresses employment verification
- The Agricultural Guestworker Act addresses temporary worker programs for agriculture
An LIRS analysis of how the specifics of each of these five bills line up with our principles for immigration reform is now available.
Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744)
S.744 (the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act) was introduced by the bipartisan “Gang of 8″ senators on April 17, 2013 and passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21. The full Senate passed the legislation in a broad bipartisan vote (68-32) on June 27.
This comprehensive immigration reform legislation would make many necessary improvements to our immigration process. Below are LIRS analyses, examining how the bill as passed by the Senate lines up with each of our five principles for reform. These analyses are also available as a single document.
- Path to Citizenship
- Humane Enforcement
- Family Unity
- Protection for Vulnerable Migrants
- Protection for Workers
LIRS Statements on S. 744 and Immigration Reform
Wondering what LIRS is saying about S. 744 and immigration reform? Check out our recent statements:
- Statement on passage of S. 744 by the full Senate
- Statement on passage of S. 744 out of the Senate Judiciary Committee
- Statement on pro-family amendments to S. 744 offered in the Senate Judiciary Committee
- Statement on amendment in the Senate Judiciary Committee to widen indefinite detention of migrants
- Statement on amendments to restrict refugee provisions in S. 744 offered in the Senate Judiciary Committee
- Faith leader statement supporting refugee provisions in S. 744
- Statement on introduction of the bipartisan S. 744
- Statement on the release of the bipartisan Senate principles
- Statement on President Obama’s January 2013 speech on comprehensive immigration reform
- Resources from our July 2013 webcast briefing on the state of immigration reform
- LIRS statement on the SKILLS Visa Act
- LIRS statement on the SAFE Act
- LIRS statement for a hearing on immigration relief for young migrants brought to the country as children
- LIRS principles for comprehensive immigration reform
- Immigration mythbuster dispelling common myths about immigrants in the United States
- Fact sheet on asylum and asylum seekers
- Senate Judiciary Committee amendments to S. 744 relating to each of LIRS’s five principles for immigration reform
- Amendments related to detention and due process
- Amendments affecting family unity
- Amendments related to refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable migrants
- LIRS Holiday Toolkit for Immigrant Justice
How You Can Help
- Join the Stand for Welcome campaign to stay updated on current topics in advocacy with migrants and refugees.
- Visit the LIRS Action Center and write to the President and your members of Congress. Tell them you support comprehensive immigration reform that is fair and humane.
- Read and share LIRS’s principles for comprehensive immigration reform.
- Print and post the LIRS Immigration Mythbuster to share the truth about immigration with your congregation and community.