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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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 Courts, Congress and Candidates: Leaders Discuss the Latest Developments in the Immigration Debate and How it’s Playing on the 2016 Campaign Trail

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the immigration debate.  Between the ongoing legal battle over DAPA and expanded DACA in the courts; new Republican attempts to insert anti-immigrant measures into policy proposals and the Loretta Lynch confirmation fight in Congress; and the shifts to the right among GOP presidential contenders on the campaign trail, immigration is once again emerging as a defining—and unavoidable—issue.

On today’s Office Hours, a legal expert, a legislative specialist and an immigrant advocate took a deeper dive into the latest developments and discussed what this means as the 2016 election season gets further underway.

“Last week, over three hundred immigrants, faith leaders, advocates, and from 9 states others came together in New Orleans for actions surrounding oral arguments at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas lawsuit challenging President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration,” said Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, Legal and Policy Director at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, who’s  also one of the attorney representing the signers of an amicus brief in support of the President’s executive action. “Last Friday showed the broad support of DAPA and expanded DACA and celebrated the contributions of immigrants and their families to New Orleans and communities United States.  While it’s unclear how the lawsuit will move forward, what is clear is that we have a huge amount of momentum on our side.”

Meanwhile, in Congress, Republican attempts to block the President’s DAPA and expanded DACA policies continues to be met with staunch opposition at every turn.

As Michelle Nawar, a consultant who specializes in political and legislative strategy, and works with America’s Voice among other organizations, explained, “So far, in this Congress, Republicans have pushed an anti-immigrant agenda and repeatedly tried to block the President’s executive action. They have lost every time whether it was trying to shut down DHS or block Loretta lynch’s confirmation. Meanwhile, changing demographics and political dynamics ensure they will continue to lose, both on policy and electorally. Yet, extremists in the GOP continue to set the immigration agenda for the entire party. And, they’re not stopping. Next week, the House will hold another hearing targeting immigrants, as they debate our country’s constitutional right to birthright citizenship.”

Additionally, as the 2016 campaign season gets further underway, America’s Voice is tracking the candidates and their immigration positioning on all fronts.  Today, they released a new online talking point translator tool that explains what some of the most popular Republican soundbites mean in real policy terms. 

Added Frank Sharry, Executive Director for America’s Voice, “As the party leaders recognized after the 2012 election, it’s even more true today that the GOP needs to get right on immigration reform if they want to get right with the fastest growing groups of voters in America. But their behavior in Congress, in the courts and on the campaign trail reveals a party sprinting to the right and pandering to the loud but not large nativist slice in the GOP base. Perhaps they’ll have to relearn a rather obvious lesson: Telling Latinos, Asian-Americans and immigrants from diverse backgrounds that ‘we don’t like your kind’ is a dumb way to broaden your party’s appeal.”

Listen to a recording today’s call here.

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.