June 27, 2013 NEWS RELEASE — LIRS Hails Historic Immigration Reform Victory in the Senate!

Bipartisan Passage of S.744 Marks Watershed in Struggle for Fair and Humane Reform

Press Contact: Jon Pattee
(202) 591-5778, jpattee@lirs.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. June 27, 2013 — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)  welcomes today’s landmark 68-32 vote by the Senate to pass the chamber’s immigration reform bill, S.744.

“Today’s Senate vote to pass S.744 marks a historic moment for America as we advance towards a more fair and welcoming set of immigration laws,” said LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke. “We applaud the Senate’s clear message of bipartisan commitment to S.744, which will help unite families, welcome those fleeing persecution, and provide newcomers with a roadmap to citizenship.”

In a show of bipartisan unity, 14 Republican senators joined their Democratic colleagues in voting for S.744. For a closer look at aspects of the bill dealing with the roadmap to citizenship, humane enforcement of immigration laws, preservation of family unity, protection of vulnerable migrants, and provisions for workers, see LIRS’s in-depth analyses.

“The passage of S.744 marks a huge step towards what Lutherans across our country, and the majority of Americans, are calling for: immigration reform that keeps families together and offers a roadmap to earned citizenship,” said Hartke. “Now we need bipartisan leadership in the House of Representatives to pass a bill as strong as S.744, because the family unity it protects is vital to our congregations and communities, and because reform is smart for our economy and country.”

“We’re especially grateful to the Democratic and Republican senators in the ‘Gang of 8’ and to Senator Leahy for tirelessly championing S.744 as the embodiment of fair and humane immigration reform,” Hartke said. “We celebrate the many improvements to our immigration system included in S. 744, such as a roadmap to citizenship for millions of undocumented individuals and DREAMers and important fixes to our asylum and refugee programs.”

The version of S.744 passed today includes the Corker-Hoeven Amendment. Known as the “border surge” amendment, the proposal pushes border security to an unprecedented level.

“While I’m disappointed at the inclusion of extreme and costly border security measures in S.744, the importance of the bill’s successful passage today can’t be overstated,” Hartke said. “LIRS will continue working with Congress and the Administration to ensure that border communities and migrants entering the country are treated with dignity and that the civil and human rights of all are respected.”

LIRS is nationally recognized for advocating on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for serving migrants through 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. For the latest on the legislative process on Capitol Hill, see the LIRS blog series “Immigration Reform 2013: The Update.”