As people of Faith we are called to welcome the stranger among us and look out for our brothers and sisters in need. Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill S. 744 may provide an opportunity to do so by allowing immigrants a fair and dignified pathway to citizenship. But it may come at a heavy cost to border communities.
Unfortunately, as the Senate debates the bill, an amendment of deep concern to Columbans has been introduced which if passed would dramatically increase the militarization of the the Southern U.S. border. A vote is expected TONIGHT, June 24. The Corker-Hoeven Amendment to S. 744 proposes spending $38 billion to increase the use of drone and helicopter surveillance, build 350 miles of additional double-fenced walls, and grow the border patrol by 20,000 agents.
This security will be paid for by immigrants and visitors through higher fines on fees for visas, blue cards, and green cards without guaranteeing food security or access to affordable healthcare for immigrant women and children on the pathway to citizenship. The amendment would also prevent immigrants from getting Social Security credits that they have already paid into the system and restrict the Department of Health and Human Services from granting waivers to states to allow them to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars to provide benefits to people in RPI status.
Lastly, the implementation of these extreme border pieces is a prerequisite for immigrants to adjust their status to remain in the U.S. and find work without fear of deportation.
Senators will vote on this measure TONIGHT, June 24. Please call today to ensure immigration reform that reunites families, provides a pathway to citizenship, and puts the dignity and worth of all people at the front of immigration reform.
Call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 to be connected with BOTH of your Senators, or find your Senators’ direct lines at www.senate.gov.
Once you reach the office, tell the receptionist:
I am calling to urge Senator _____________ to oppose the Corker-Hoeven Amendment to S. 744 and support the original text as it stands. As a person of faith, I recognize we are called to love our neighbor, care for the least of these, and ensure family unity. The excessive asks for enhanced border protections in the Corker-Hoeven Amendment would have devastating impacts on families and communities on an already secure border. I ask you to instead reallocate extra funds to reducing fees and fines and securing a social safety net for low income immigrant families so they can successfully complete the pathway to citizenship.
For more information about the Columban position on Comprehensive Immigration Reform click here.