On June 27, the U.S. Senate voted to pass comprehensive immigration reform. An impressive 68 Senators--all Democrats, 14 Republicans, and two independents--voted in favor of a bipartisan compromise bill. This means that Senators representing 81% of the American people voted in support of a path to citizenship for millions, a strong federal DREAM Act, and family reunification provisions.
This is not the bill OneAmerica would have drafted. For example, our economy and our Constitution can ill afford the financial and human costs of such a massive "border surge." However, there are many provisions of this bill that will directly improve the lives of immigrant families here in Washington State.
You can help carry this momentum for reform to the House of Representatives. OneAmerica will continue calling on Washington State's Members of Congress to support truly comprehensive reform that preserves the best elements of the Senate bill and expands protections for families, workers, and vulnerable communities.
Take Action for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2013!
- Sign up for E-mail and Text alerts - Take action quickly and receive updates at key moments in the campaign for comprehensive immigration reform. Click here to sign up for E-mails, and text "JUSTICE4ALL" to 69302 to receive alerts on your phone.
- August: Turning up the heat for citizenship - As Washington State's Members of Congress return home for the August recess, residents of their districts aren't taking a break. At Public Forums and Town Halls across the state, Washingtonians will call on their Members of Congress to take a stand for a pathway to citizenship. Click here for details about the events!
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez in Yakima, July 13 - A lifelong champion of the rights of Latino and immigrant communities, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez is a national leader in the effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for millions of aspiring Americans. As attention turns to the House, Rep. Gutiérrez comes to Yakima to rally immigrant families from across Washington in support of reform that keeps families together and strengthens our economy. Free event, Saturday July 13 5:00-7:00pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Yakima, 225 N 2nd St.
Watch a livestream of Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, courtesy of SEIU775 NW.
The Senate Bill: A Compromise with a Pathway to Citizenship
The compromise legislation passed by the Senate reflects many of our principles for just and humane comprehensive immigration reform, and includes provisions which represent historic progress for immigrant and refugee communities:
Path to Citizenship - The bill would offer a means for millions of American residents to achieve legal status and citizenship through a step-by-step process that may take as long as 13 years. The bill provides significantly shorter paths for DREAMers and farm workers. People with Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status would be able to work in the U.S., travel abroad, and live without fear of deportation.
Family Unity – The bill would reunite many families separated by deportation, and mandates processing of backlogged visa applications for family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Its merit-based system for visa applications would award points to applicants with family in the U.S., and Department of Homeland Security would be given greater discretion to reunite families. The bill would also mandate that Border Patrol agents receive training in issues relating to family unity and children's rights. The bill would expand opportunities for the spouses and children of work visa-holders live and work in the U.S.
Workers' Rights - Expanded guest worker programs would include protections for abused or wrongfully terminated immigrant workers. U.S. citizens and other authorized workers would have increased due-process protections in the case of errors in the E-Verify system.
Border Security - The $46 billion "Border surge" would unnecessarily increase the militarization of border communities, threatening the health and safety of local residents. However, advocates won a number of positive measures, including mandatory use of force rules and training for Border Patrol agents, prohibition of racial profiling, and accountability procedures for civil and human rights violations. On the Northern border, Customs and Border Patrol's jurisdiction for warrant-less searches would be reduced to 25 miles from the border. Protections are also included that would restrict immigration enforcement near sensitive locations including community centers, hospitals, schools and places of worship.
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S. 744 Bill Summary (As passed by Senate 6/27)