On June 27, 2013, the United States Senate voted 68-32 in approval of the comprehensive immigration reform bill S. 744, “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” This action is encouraging evidence that Congress is taking steps to implement needed reforms and an indication that immigration reform is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill
Yet, immigration reform still has to face another tough battle – getting through the House of Representatives. House leadership has indicated that they will adopt a piecemeal approach to legislation pertaining to immigration. Not only has the adoption of such a process slowed the momentum for pushing through immigration reform, but the tone of these individual bills have been particularly xenophobic and worrisome. One bill in particular, H.R. 2278, the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, would greatly broaden the powers of local law enforcement agencies in both enforcing immigration law and instituting punishments in accordance with it. Delegating such authority to local authorities has proven to be extremely harmful for communities in the past. Further, the SAFE Act would add numerous qualifications to the already unreasonable number of terrorism-related bars to receiving refugee status and would expand the system of detention centers.
Now is the time to act. Representatives in the House listen to concerns from their constituents. A simple phone call and/or email message is a powerful tool to help alert members of Congress to the views of their constituents. Please take a moment to urge your member of Congress to support common sense immigration reform, oppose the SAFE Act, and help fight for provisions that are welcoming towards refugees.
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