This Week in Immigration

Business and Religious Leaders Come Together to Champion Immigration Reform

Immigration reform is an undertaking of such importance that it should transcend partisanship. That was the fundamental message of the business and religious leaders who gathered together yesterday at a press conference organized by the National Immigration Forum. The press conference was part of a campaign called Forging a New Consensus on Immigrants andAmerica, which describes itself as “a growing and diverse constituency of conservative, moderate and progressive leaders that is determined to go beyond the rhetoric and find common ground for practical solutions.” The event comes on the heels of an announcement late last week by Thomas Donohue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that a broad coalition of business, labor, religious, law enforcement, and ethnic organizations has coalesced around the cause of immigration reform.

Out of Legal Options, Alabama Files Petition at Supreme Court
Nearly five months ago, a federal appeals court inAtlanta issued a set of opinions that invalidated numerous provisions of Alabama HB 56, the most pernicious state immigration law in the country. AfterAlabama asked the full court to reconsider its rulings, the active judges unanimously rejected its request. Out of other legal options, the state filed a petition with the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking to revive some (though not all) of the invalidated provisions. While the odds remain small that the Justices will take up the case, granting the petition could set up another legal showdown similar to the case over Arizona SB 1070.

A Clash of Conservatives in Kansas 
Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist came toTopeka this week to serve as a counterweight to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the national debate over immigration reform. Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, is best known for persuading congressional Republicans to sign his anti-tax pledge. However, he is also an opponent of restrictive and punitive immigration policies. Kobach, on the other hand, has used his perch as Kansas Secretary of State to travel the country touting the evils of unauthorized immigration and drafting various and sundry state laws that crack down on anyone who looks like an unauthorized immigrant.

Immigrants Add Billions to the Arkansas Economy 
The economic contributions of immigrants are apparent at the national level and in states around the country. Take the case ofArkansas. In a series of three reports from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, researchers at the Migration Policy Institute,University ofArkansas, and Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at theUniversity ofNorth Carolina tally up the myriad contributions of immigrants inArkansas and balance that with an accounting of their fiscal “costs.” The bottom line is impressive.

Momentum on Immigration Reform Continues to Build 
News stories continue to highlight the growing likelihood that immigration reform will play a prominent role in Congress this spring. According to an article in Sunday’s New York Times, both the White House and Congress are deeply engaged in immigration reform legislation, with a bipartisan group of Senators working methodically through tough issues like enforcement and legalization.   While the details remain under wraps, there is growing optimism that immigration may become the issue on which both parties can truly find common ground.




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