Congress May be in Recess, but the Immigrant Rights Movement Keeps At It
FIRM Legislative Update 4/9/07:
As Congress left Washington, DC for its Spring recess, House Democrats and Republicans were considering whether to sign-on to the STRIVE Act, which Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Flake (R-AZ) introduced and thirty-seven additional Representatives had already co-sponsored. In order to maintain momentum for comprehensive immigration reform in the House, dozens of immigrant rights organizations are calling on their Representatives to co-sponsor the STRIVE Act. In the meam time, attention is also shifting back to Rep. Lofgren (D-CA), who chairs the sub-committee of the House Judiciary Committee responsibile for moving a bill through the House. It remains unclear whether Rep. Lofgren will simply take up the STRIVE Act in committee or draft her own bill. Either way, she will be watching the response to the STRIVE Act very closely.
In the mean time, the Senate continues to inch forward on an immigration proposal. On March 29, the White House leaked a secretive proposal for immigration reform that has been roundly criticized by both pro-immigrant and anti-immigrant forces in Congress and in the community. The White House's strategy appears to be to try to pull together as many Republicans as possible around a conservative immigration reform proposal to force a negotiation with Democratic leaders on a final immigration reform bill, but it remains unclear how many Republican Senators are actually willing to support it. However, the White House process has given Republican Senators a reason to step back and wait to see how to respond. In the mean time, Sen. Kennedy continues to seek Republican co-sponsors for a comprehensive immigration reform proposal in the Senate. Regardless of what happens in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has stated his intention to bring a bill to the Senate floor at the end of May, just before the Memorial Day Recess.
With respect to overall timing, members of Congress and their staff anticipate that the Senate process will play out prior to the Memorial Day Recess, and the House Judiciary Committee is likely to move on its immigration reform proposal after the Senate concludes action on a bill.
That's why throughout the congressional recess, and especially on April 10 - the anniversary of some of the largest marches in American history - immigrant organizations and their allies are holding events across the United States calling for comprehensive immigration reform now. For more information on the STRIVE Act, the White House proposal and April 10th, please go to www.april10.org.
--Rich Stolz, Co-Director, Fair Immigration Reform Movement.