[Episcopal Public Policy Network] On May 7, 301 amendments to the Senate immigration bill were filed by nearly every Senator on the Judiciary Committee, which will begin hearing amendments tomorrow at 9:30 am. As you can imagine, this volume of amendments touches nearly every piece of the bill and, if enacted, could change the bill in any number of ways.
Some amendments would make the pathway to citizenship more inclusive by allowing immigrants who arrived after Dec 31, 2011 to qualify for legal status, while other amendments would increase the penalties undocumented immigrants must pay when applying for RPI status, effectively barring many. One amendment goes beyond eliminating the sibling family reunification category by removing the points allocated to sibling relationships in the merit based visas, while another restores the sibling category fully. There are amendments to increase workers, to decrease net immigration, to include same-sex spouses, to improve access to benefits, to increase the benefits bars and many, many more!
Over the next 2 weeks, we must remain vigilant and engaged to defend positive pieces of the bill from negative amendments, and to seek improvements in the pieces of the bill with which we disagree. Your voice will be vital in swaying your decision makers, which is why our call to action today is to ensure you are linked to 3 key advocacy and information sharing tools:
IIC call-in line – Each morning of mark-up, please call 1-866-940-2439. You will be greeted by a recording that outlines the relevant amendments of the day, and our position on these amendments. Calling each day, as early as possible, will allow Senators to have their tally of “pros” versus “cons” before they vote! Make sure they have your vote in hand!
Facebook and Twitter – We will also be following the mark-ups live and reporting out the votes as well as last minute changes that will be moving too quickly for email. The BEST way to keep up to date is to follow us on both Twitter and Facebook- we will be sharing advocacy messaging, posts, or tweets that you can share with your networks and updates.
In the Presiding Bishop’s statement on the immigration bill she told lawmakers that, “Episcopalians stand ready to advocate for policies that build a just and welcoming society for all God’s people.” Your advocacy has pushed our national conversation and political process to this decision point- now is the time for just and comprehensive immigration reform!