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World Relief Advocacy Update - Part 1 of 3

April 20, 2007

Photo: immigrants in front of American Flag (Acclaim Images)

Your voice will make a difference!

**Contact your elected Representative and voice your concerns about the below mentioned issues.
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SUPPORT COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM!

President Bush traveled to the border city of Yuma , AZ last week to call attention to the Administration’s efforts to control the border and enforce our already existing immigration laws. President Bush considers immigration reform one of his key legacy issues and is sending Administration officials to work with Republican Senators to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). The White House has come up with their immigration proposal (ATTACHED) which many consider a step backwards in reaching a realistic, comprehensive solution as it would eliminate certain family preference categories and create a merit system for legalization.

The STRIVE Act of 2007 (H.R. 1645) introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has been gaining more momentum and is considered a marker bill in the House for CIR. While there have been concerns about some troublesome provisions in the STRIVE Act including the touchback provision and enforcement provisions, the bill is a step in the right direction to enact CIR. The bill is comprehensive in nature and incorporates the four principles World Relief has been advocating for. For a good comparison document between the White House proposal and the STRIVT Act, check out http://www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?ID=595

Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled the weeks of May 14th and May 21st to debate immigration on the Senate floor
. Senator Kennedy and other Democratic Senate leaders are meeting regularly with their Republican counterparts to reach a compromise on an immigration bill that will hopefully be marked up in the Judiciary Committee and ready for the Senate floor by May 14th. No one is certain what the initial bill will look like as there are still major differences between the leading Democratic and Republican Senators on various provisions of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, including criteria for those in the undocumented population who can be eligible for legal status, visa numbers, whether a temporary worker should include a pathway to citizenship, the elimination of certain family preference categories, etc. World Relief met with Senator Kennedy on April 16th to discuss ongoing negotiations between Senate leaders on immigration and we expressed our appreciation for his leadership on the issue.

World Relief hosted a Black-Latino Roundtable on Immigration on March 28th that was attended by leaders from the Black and Latino Evangelical communities from the local Washington DC/Baltimore area as well as across the country. This dialogue was an important step forward in discussing concerns from both communities on immigration and how to move forward together.

World Relief also issued a press release on the ICE raids on April 2, 2007 http://www.wr.org/pressroom/pressreleases/view.asp?id=80000128 voicing our concerns about separated families. We are now working with churches in Massachusetts and Texas to bring phone cards to separated family members. While we support the role of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to enforce the rule of law, we are concerned that there are dozens of families that have been split, including young children whose mothers are being held in detention facilities.

World Relief is also circulating a Interfaith Family Immigration Brief for sign-on (ATTACHED) by faith-based organizations and individuals. Please feel free to pass this document along for sign-on by your pastor!

What can you do?
1) Write your Representatives and ask him/her to co-sponsor the STRIVE Act!
2) Pass the Family Immigration Brief to your pastor and ask your pastor or other organizations to sign on!
3) Check out our website for our statement or principles, sample letter, talking points, etc- http://www.wr.org/joinin/advocacy/view.asp?id=80024022
4) Educate and engage your church on this issue!

Jenny Hwang
Director for Advocacy and Policy
Refugee and Immigration Program
World Relief
jhwang@wr.org
443-451-1969