IAN: Immigration Bill Passes the Judiciary Committee 13-5!

May 30, 2013

Immigration Advocacy Newsletter

After a debate that spanned two weeks and saw 212 amendments considered, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) passed out of the Judiciary Committee on May 21, 2013 with bipartisan support 13-5!

Your advocacy was vital throughout this process. Episcopalians and other people of faith across the country made more than 3,000 calls to Senate Judiciary members during mark-up, playing a large role in defeating the worst amendments and gaining modest improvements to the bill.

Many positive amendments we supported were introduced and passed, such as amendments to limit dangerous deportation practices that endanger the lives of migrants (Coons #2), limit the use of solitary confinement in detention (Blumenthal #2), prioritize the unity of families when people are apprehended at the border (Hirono #23) and protect children whose parents have been detained by expanding trainings for immigration agents on parental rights (Franken #7).

We were also able to defeat attempts to eliminate or severely restrict the pathway to citizenship while an amendment to allow RPI recipients to pay their fines in installments (Hirono #12) passed, a modest but important step toward easing the cost of the pathway for immigrant families. Attempts to remove important fixes for refugee families currently separated were protected, as was the repeal of the one-year filing deadline!

We were deeply saddened to see that S. 744 was voted out of committee as a bill that continues to exclude same-sex partners and their families from reunification. We were also saddened to see that, in its current form, this bill would still revoke a U.S. citizen's ability to petition for a visa for their siblings or their married children over the age of 31. The Episcopal Church believes that all families belong together and we will continue to fight for the inclusion of all families under immigration law as the bill moves to the Senate floor.

That's right- we aren't done yet! This bill still has a long way to go before it becomes a law and we will have to fight even harder to protect the positive gains in the bill and continue to push for improvements.  Amendments that failed in committee can return in the floor debate, both the bad amendments as well as amendments we support.

Like the amendments that passed? Unhappy with the amendments that passed? Is something you care about missing from the bill? Now is the time to let your Senator know! Every Senator will now have a chance to weigh-in on the bill, offer amendments and, eventually, cast their vote. Debate on the Senate floor is likely to begin as early as June 10th so make sure their vote reflects your voice. Call your senators at 1-866-940-2439.

Thank you for raising your voice in support of comprehensive immigration reform. We have a lot of great work behind us and even greater work, and greater challenges, ahead of us on the Senate floor and then in the House. Stay tuned!


--Katie Conway

Immigration and Refugee Policy Analyst


Learn more about UAFA advocacy within the Episcopal Church in this blogpost from the Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall

Visit the Senate Judiciary Committee website for a complete list of amendments

Help prevent notario fraud- this bill is not law and anyone who approaches you or members of your community offering access to status should be reported to the police. Learn more about notario fraud and what you can do to prevent it here

Get up to the minute advocacy and resource updates by following us on Twitter and Facebook