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Immigration reform Fasters begin “National Days to Act, Fast and Pray”

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

By: Maria Camila Bernal

After more than three weeks of fasting, immigration activists in Washington D.C. will be joined by many around the nation as they begin the “National Days to Act, Fast and Pray,” three days of no food in hopes that Congress brings an immigration reform bill to a vote.

Three people, Eliseo Medina of Service Employees International Union; Cristian Avila of Mi Familia Vota and Dae Joong Yoon of National Korean American & Education Association, have been fasting near the U.S. Capitol and vowed to fast until they can no longer sustain.

A fourth faster, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, committed to a 40-day fast.

But beginning Sunday, activists hope the fasting goes beyond Washington D.C. in order to “create a moral force that will convince Congress that the time to act is now,” Medina, a veteran of the farmworker rights protests of the 1960s, said.

The group’s goal is to get the attention of House Speaker John Boehner and urge him to call a vote on immigration reform by year’s end.

Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota’s Executive Director, said his organization will have various solidarity events and actions throughout the country on Dec. 1-3. Events have been organized in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Texas.

“We will not stop our efforts until this moral crisis that breaks apart families finally ends and our country has an immigration system that works for citizens, aspiring Americans and their families,” Monterroso said.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visited the group fasting in Washington D.C. Friday, reiterating that there is still time this year for the House to pass legislation, The Associated Press reported.

Previous visitors have included Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and feminist Gloria Steinem.

Sunday marks the 20th day of fasting for the group in the National Mall.

“Understanding the struggle that my family and other families in my community face, I have the moral responsibility to do everything in my hands to make a change. If that means my body, my body it is. Anything less would mean I have failed my community, and that is a luxury I don’t have,” said Avila, Mi Familia Vota’s Arizona Coordinator.


White House won’t rule out future executive action on immigration

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

By Justin Sink

The White House on Tuesday would not categorically rule out future executive actions to address immigration, while continuing to maintain “there is not” anything the president could do in lieu of congressional action on comprehensive reform.

“I don’t want to speculate about what sort of actions the president might or might not take,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

Obama has come under pressure from immigration activists, who have challenged the president to act unilaterally now that a comprehensive immigration bill appears stalled in the House. The president was heckled twice during events in San Francisco on Monday while discussing immigration reform, with protesters each time demanding an end to deportations via executive order.

In 2012, the Obama administration announced it would stop deporting some illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children, assuming they met certain criteria.

But the White House has maintained that path is not feasible for the nation’s entire immigrant population, arguing, as Obama did Monday, that the issue must be addressed legislatively.

“If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,” Obama told one of the hecklers who interrupted his speech at the Betty Ong Chinese Recreation Center. “But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.”

But while the White House has ruled out a sweeping halt to deportations, it is unclear whether Obama could use his executive authority, which includes the ability to grant temporary work permits, to help some of those here illegally.

Still, Earnest stressed that the White House believed congressional action was the only way to fully address the issue.

“We have been very clear that the problem that the president is trying to solve here is one that can only be solved with the Congress, and that problem is an immigration system that everybody acknowledges is broken,” he said.


Will politics kill possibility of immigration reform?

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

Farmworkers pick beans in a field, Nov. 18, in Florida City, Fla. One group that is likely to benefit quickly from any immigration reform effort by Congress or the Obama administration are agriculture workers.

Written by
Matthew I. Hirsch

 

As the recent budget impasse came to a close, the President made news by announcing he was prepared to restart efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). Whether or not this “can and should get done by the end of this year,” as the President said, is uncertain. House leadership has indicated it will not take up the Senate’s wide-ranging bill during this legislative session and might start next year with a piecemeal strategy, which does not provoke the anti-amnesty crowd.

One of the core principles of CIR is legalization of the undocumented. What are the economic benefits of legalizing the undocumented? A UCLA study looked at the 1986 legalization and found that legalized immigrants earn higher wages, move into higher-paying occupations, invest more in education, open bank accounts, build and buy homes and start businesses. Projecting forward, that study found that CIR would add $1.5 trillion in U.S. GDP over 10 years. More specifically, the report found that, in the first three years, the higher earning power of legalized workers would yield increased personal income of more than $30 billion, $5 billion in new federal taxes and enough new spending to support 750,000 new jobs.

The UCLA study was consistent with an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, which found that enacting CIR would reduce the federal deficit and “boost the economy.” According to the CBO study, after netting out costs, bringing the undocumented into the workforce would increase the economy by $700 billion and decrease deficits by $200 billion over the next decade. The CBO study also concluded legalization and a temporary worker program would increase the size of the labor force, provide long-term increases in average wages, boost capital investment and raise productivity.

But immigration reform proposals are not limited to legalizing the undocumented. They include provisions which would provide seasonal help for the region’s agricultural economy. To meet labor needs, mushroom producers, chicken farms and other agricultural producers in the region have historically relied on an immigrant workforce of dubious status. Enactment of CIR would obviate the need to hire undocumented workers by providing an improved system for meeting the labor needs of agricultural producers.

The region also has a large number of world-class universities which attract top students from all over the world. If enacted, CIR would mean these high-demand college graduates could find employment in our area, instead of taking their high-value degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to other, more welcoming countries.

Our area also has seasonal resorts. The Senate’s bill addresses perennial labor shortages in these areas by providing something missing from today’s immigration law – the “W” visa for temporary workers. Such a visa would provide a market-tested means of bringing screened, seasonal workers to fill temporary jobs, thereby helping business owners to meet their peak-season needs.

We are also a region that wants to grow its high-tech sector. Immigration reform increases visas for highly-educated innovators and entrepreneurs. Despite statistics which show the benefits of attracting foreign high-tech workers and entrepreneurs, today’s laws squelch innovation and deter investment from foreign shores. If passed, a new immigration law could stimulate investment and help our region to build out its entrepreneurial infrastructure.

The Senate’s CIR proposal also addresses concerns about future-flow, criminal aliens and abusive labor practices. It deals harshly with employers who hire the undocumented, increases the number of border agents and immigration judges, provides for enhanced enforcement, detention and removal of aliens involved with gangs, illegal drugs, and sexual violence, and cracks down on smugglers.

The time has come for comprehensive immigration reform. The White House is advocating for it. The Senate has managed to pass a bill. And in the Republican-led House, there are members crossing the aisle to support CIR. Polls show the American public supports immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. But, most important of all for politicians, CIR would offer substantial and demonstrable benefits to the voting public, and just might help them achieve their most prized goal – re-election.
 


Judges Must Warn About Deportation, New York Appeals Court Rules

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law, Immigration Trends Leave a comment

New York judges must warn immigrant defendants that they face deportation if they plead guilty to a felony, the state’s highest court ruled on Tuesday.

In a 5-to-2 decision, the Court of Appeals overturned its 1995 ruling that deportation is a “collateral consequence” of a guilty plea, and so judges need not warn foreign defendants it might happen.

Writing for the majority, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam said that times had changed since the mid-1990s, when about 37,000 noncitizens were deported after criminal convictions.

That number stood at 188,000 in 2011, Judge Abdus-Salaam wrote, and, with stricter enforcement of immigration laws, deportation has become “an automatic consequence of a guilty plea for most noncitizen defendants.” She said defendants who took plea bargains often found themselves stripped of their jobs, cut off from their family in the United States and returned to a country they hardly remembered.

The majority concluded “that deportation constitutes such a substantial and unique consequence of a plea that it must be mentioned by the trial court to defendant as a matter of fundamental fairness,” Judge Abdus-Salaam wrote.

More than 20 states already require judges to issue such warnings, and in the 1990s the New York State Legislature put a similar requirement in the criminal procedure law. But failing to give the warning carried no consequence, and judges sometimes skip it, defense lawyers said.

“Courts should be doing this already but in practice they are not,” said Rosemary Herbert, a lawyer for Richard Diaz, one of the three defendants in the case. “This decision is putting some teeth in that requirement.”

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Judges Victoria Graffeo, Susan P. Read and Jenny Rivera joined Judge Abdus-Salaam in the majority. Judges Robert S. Smith and Eugene F. Pigott Jr. dissented.

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Padilla v. Kentucky that defense lawyers have a duty to tell clients they face deportation before they offer a guilty plea.

The Court of Appeals decision this week came in response to three criminal cases in which judges failed to tell defendants about their likely deportation.

Mr. Diaz, a legal United States resident from the Dominican Republic, was arrested in October 2006 with another man in the back of a taxicab in Upper Manhattan after the police found a two-pound brick of cocaine on the car’s floor during a traffic stop.

He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in return for a two-and-a-half-year sentence, but as soon as he was released, Immigration and Customs Enforcement moved to deport him.

Because a trial judge in Manhattan never warned Mr. Diaz of the deportation, the Court of Appeals ruled that he had a right to move to withdraw his guilty plea. The majority said the motion would not be granted automatically, though, as is done with other violations of due process. Instead Mr. Diaz, and other defendants like him, must show that if he had been warned, he would have insisted on going to trial.

On this point, Judges Lippman and Rivera dissented, arguing that similar pleas in the absence of a warning should be reversed automatically.

Lawyers for the three defendants in the case — Mr. Diaz, Juan Jose Peque and Michael Thomas — said the decision was a sea change. “The decision certainly makes clear that judges from now going forward must warn, and it opens up an avenue for defendants who are already convicted and haven’t been warned to appeal,” said Lynn W. L. Fahey, who represented Mr. Thomas


Six Republicans Ask for Immigration Views of DHS Nominee

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment
Six Republicans want immigration views of DHS nominee Jeh Johnson
By: Seung Min Kim
November 18, 2013 05:50 PM EST
Six key Senate Republicans are demanding more information about Department of Homeland Security nominee Jeh Johnson and his views on immigration, arguing that they need to know more before they confirm him.

The letter from six Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans outlines 29 questions — many of them with multiple parts — asking for Johnson’s perspectives on a wide array of immigration issues.

President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead DHS is a former lawyer for the Pentagon, and his views on immigration are little known. At his confirmation hearing last week, Johnson said he backs “common-sense immigration reform” which would include a “clear path to earned citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, but the GOP senators are clearly eager to know more.

(Also on POLITICO: DHS nominee likely to clear hurdles)

“Our committee has primary responsibility over immigration matters, and we believe it necessary to know any nominee’s position on immigration policies before we can consent to the confirmation of a Secretary to head this very critical department,” the senators wrote in theletter, obtained by POLITICO from a Republican source.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), whose panel is overseeing Johnson’s nomination, said Monday that he hopes to hold a vote on the confirmation on Wednesday.

Most of the questions focus directly on Johnson’s views of immigration, such as what types of immigrants living in the country illegally should be eligible for immigration benefits, such as legal status. It also asks Johnson whether — if he is confirmed — he will continue an Obama administrative directive that defers deportations for certain young undocumented immigrants.

(Also on POLITICO: Senate panel to consider DHS nomination)

Others deal with general oversight issues at DHS, and ask Johnson to pledge to work with Congress on those issues.

The letter was signed by six Judiciary panel Republicans — Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, John Cornyn of Texas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Orrin Hatch of Utah. All except for Hatch voted against the Gang of Eight immigration bill that cleared the committee in May and passed the full chamber in June.

The two Republicans who did not sign the letter are Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona, who as members of the Gang of Eight co-wrote the bill. The letter was first reported on by the Daily Caller.

Another Senate Republican, John McCain of Arizona, has placed a hold on Johnson’s nomination until the DHS nominee releases more information about border security and how to boost control of the U.S.-Mexico boundary.

© 2013 POLITICO LLC

Immigrants Closely Tied to Military Get Reprieve

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

By: Julia Preston

The Obama administration issued a new policy on Friday that will allow immigrants in the United States illegally who are close relatives of active military troops and veterans to stay and move toward becoming permanent residents.

The long-awaited memorandum, coming after three years of deliberations by Department of Homeland Security officials, was an effort to untangle knots in immigration law that left many soldiers worried that their immigrant family members could be deported while they were deployed.

The administration applied the policy broadly, extending it to all active-duty members of the armed forces, to reservists including the National Guard, and to all veterans. Their spouses, children and parents will be eligible for a “parole in place,” a term that means they will be authorized to remain in the United States and many can proceed with applications for legal residency.

“This is an enormous step forward for military families and military readiness,” said Margaret D. Stock, a lawyer at Cascadia Cross-Border Law in Anchorage, who is a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel. “These problems had been a complete nightmare for many military people to deal with.”

The shift comes as legislation to grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants has stalled in Congress, with Republican leaders in the House saying this week that they would not hold immigration votes this year or enter negotiations over a broad bill that the Senate passed in June. Obama administration officials said the new rules were based on existing statutes, and did not create any new legal status that would require action by Congress.

“In order to reduce the uncertainty our active-duty and retired military personnel face because of the immigration status of their family members, we have decided to clarify existing policies,” said Peter Boogaard, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

Immigrants without papers generally have to leave the country to collect visas they applied for through marriage to an American citizen or some other family tie. But, in a notorious Catch-22, once those immigrants leave they are barred from returning for years. Under the new policy, those immigrants who are in military families will not have to leave to complete their visa applications.

Faced with the legal quandary, many service members chose not to apply for papers for immigrant spouses and relatives, often keeping their immigration status secret. As a result, there is no way of knowing how many immigrants will be affected by the new policy, but it could be tens of thousands.

Immigrants involved will have work permits and will have to renew their documents yearly.

Several Hispanic organizations, including the League of United Latin American Citizens, hailed the policy, noting that many Hispanics serve in the armed forces. In addition to American citizens, permanent residents and some other legal immigrants are eligible to serve in the military.

But many immigrant groups immediately called on President Obama to extend the reprieve to more foreigners here illegally.

“The administration’s action clearly shows that the president can use his power to stop the pain in our communities and grant relief to our families,” said Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream, a youth organization.


John Boehner: House GOP Still Figuring Out ‘How We’re Going To Move Ahead’ On Immigration

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) insisted on Wednesday that even though House Republicans have moved slowly on immigration reform, they’re still planning to work on it — but not by combining their efforts with the already-passed Senate bill.

“The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House,” Boehner said at a press conference. “And frankly, I’ll make clear: We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.”

The bipartisan Senate bill passed in June in a 68-32 vote, but was immediately shot down by Boehner, who said he would not hold a vote on anything without majority GOP support. But that was months ago, and long after House Republicans leaders committed to working on immigration reform this year. Bills approved by the House Judiciary Committee, which deals with immigration issues, haven’t gone for votes, either.

Democrats and advocates argue that the Senate bill could pass if it went for a vote — most Democratic members and three GOP members support a bill based on the legislation — but so far, it doesn’t seem likely that the measure will get the chance.

GOP Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reform advocates last week that there is no time to hold votes on immigration this year. Boehner said Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is working with Republicans and Democrats “on a set of principles that will help guide us as we deal with this issue.” Boehner did not, however, give a straight answer when asked whether there would be votes this year.

“As we develop the principles, we’ll figure out how we’re going to move ahead,” he said.

Asked whether House Republicans are moving slowly on immigration reform because they want to focus on Obamacare, Boehner insisted that was not the strategy.

“This is about trying to do this in a way that the American people and our members can absorb,” he said. “There are hundreds of issues involved in dealing with immigration reform. And we’ve got to deal with these in a common-sense way, where our members understand what we’re doing and their constituents understand.”

Boehner said he is still committed to working on immigration reform.

“Let’s understand something: I want us to deal with this issue,” he said. “But I want to deal with it in a common-sense, step-by-step way.”

Young immigration reform advocates approached Boehner earlier Wednesday as he was eating breakfast to tell their families’ stories and ask whether he plans to act on immigration.

“I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done,” he said, according to video the group posted to YouTube. “But it’s not easy — not going to be an easy path forward. But I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that it’s time to get this done.”

Democrats criticized House Republicans at a hearing on Wednesday for saying they want to work on immigration reform but declining to hold votes.

“If House Republicans oppose comprehensive immigration reform but support a piecemeal approach to fix our broken immigration system, show us,” Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said at a Judiciary Committee hearing. “Do something. … I believe we are closer today than we have ever been before. But now is not the time for more talk, talk, talk. Now is the time for action.”

UPDATE: 2:33 p.m. — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to Boehner’s comments during a press briefing later Wednesday, saying that there is still time for the House to act if it wants to.

“I think it could happen this year,” he said. “Obviously, the House is the obstacle or the opportunity, and we, as I said, believe that if there were the will in the House to act quickly and decisively on comprehensive immigration reform, it could be achieved and it would receive a broad bipartisan vote in the affirmative.”

He made a small dig, however, at Boehner’s mention of efforts now being made to craft principles on immigration reform.

“I think that’s a welcome step, but it seems a little bit late in the game to be developing principles on this substantial issue and priority for American businesses, for labor, for faith communities, for law enforcement communities,” he said.

Carney added that it would be a good step for the House to hold a vote on the House Democrats’ immigration reform bill.

“What the House could do this week was take up its own comprehensive immigration reform bill,” he said. “There’s one that the House Democrats have put on the table that reflects the president’s principles, reflects the principles put forward in the bipartisan Senate bill, and that we strongly believe would pass the House with a substantial majority, including votes from both parties if the speaker were to bring it to the floor for a vote.”


Boehner Rules out Immigration Reform this Year

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment
Boehner rules out immigration reform this year
November 13th, 2013
01:40 PM ET
3 hours ago

Washington (CNN) – If there were any doubts that comprehensive immigration reform efforts were dead on Capitol Hill this year, House Speaker John Boehner eliminated them on Wednesday.

Boehner repeated his long standing opposition to the Senate-passed immigration bill and his pledge the House would never vote on it, but he went a step further, drawing a bright line: “I’ll make clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill.”

Last week the third ranking House Republican, GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, told immigration reform advocates that there wasn’t enough time left this year for the House to take up immigration reform. The House is in session 15 days between now and the end of the year.

After Republicans lost the presidential election in 2012 and Hispanic voters voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, Boehner said it was time for Congress to pass major immigration reforms.

“I think a comprehensive approach is long overdue. And I’m confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all,” Boehner said in an interview with ABC News the week after the election.

Facing sharp divisions inside his conference on the issue, Boehner insists he still wants action but says any legislation has to be done in pieces.

“I want us to deal with this issue but I want to deal with it in a common sense step by step way,” he said Wednesday.

A series of targeted immigration bills have passed the House Judiciary Committee – mostly focused on border security and enforcement – but GOP leaders have not scheduled any floor votes on any of them.

A significant bloc of House conservatives is adamantly opposed to any measure that provides a path to citizenship or legal status for the 11 million undocumented workers in the United States. So far, none of the House GOP proposals addresses that issue, but opponents worry that any negotiation with the Senate would ratchet up pressure on House Republicans to deal with questions of citizenship.

Boehner’s statement Wednesday declaring no talks with the Senate on its bill was designed to put those concerns to rest.

The Speaker brushed aside a question of whether House GOP leaders were avoiding the divisive debate on immigration reform to focus on problems with the implementation of Obamacare.

“This is about trying to do this in a way that the American people and our members can absorb,” Boehner said, adding immigration reform is too complicated to rush.

“There are hundreds of issues involved in dealing with immigration reform, and we’ve got to deal with these in a common sense way where our members understand what we’re doing and their constituents understand.”

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Obama seeks to build momentum for immigration overhaul

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

Nov 5 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama turned to business leaders on Tuesday to try to build momentum for an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system and pressured the U.S. Congress to approve legislation by the end of the year.

Obama brought a number of business executives to the White House to stress his belief that untangling the immigration system would add $1.4 trillion in growth to the U.S. economy over 20 years and reduce deficit spending in the federal budget by $850 billion.

Immigration legislation that would create a provisional status for workers as part of a 13-year path to U.S. citizenship cleared the Democratic-controlled Senate in June but is stalled in the Republican-led House of Representatives.

Obama told reporters as he met the business leaders that he would press the issue in coming weeks.

“There’s no reason why we can’t get this done before the end of the year,” he said.

The president’s domestic agenda has been caught up in controversies in recent weeks, including a budget battles with Republicans that led to a 16-day government shutdown. He is currently struggling to smooth out the troubled rollout of his signature healthcare law.

Intent on showing that other parts of his agenda can be worked on at the same time, Obama said he realizes there has been resistance to the immigration plan from House Republicans and that “the politics are challenging” for House Speaker John Boehner.

He said he believed the immigration overhaul would pass if Boehner allowed it to come to a vote in the House.

“We want to make it as easy for him as possible. This is not an issue where we’re looking for a political win. This is one where we’re looking for a substantive win for the U.S. economy,” Obama said.

Among the business leaders who met Obama were Roger Altman, chairman of Evercore Partners; Don Thompson, chief executive of McDonald’s; Arne Sorenson, the Marriott chief executive; and Marillyn Hewson, chief executive of Lockheed Martin.


New push for immigration reform will target 9 House Republicans

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

With a year to go until the midterm elections, immigration reform advocates hoping to jump-start debate on Capitol Hill are planning to target a handful of Republican lawmakers most likely to suffer political consequences next year if Congress fails to act on immigration reform.

Rep. Joe Heck ( R-Nev.), left, speaks with a constituent during a town hall meeting on immigration reform at Windmill Library in Las Vegas in July. Heck is one of nine House Republicans being targeted by a new campaign by immigration reform advocates. (LEILA NAVIDI/LAS VEGAS SUN)Rep. Joe Heck ( R-Nev.), left, speaks with a constituent during a town hall meeting on immigration reform at Windmill Library in Las Vegas in July. Heck is one of nine House Republicans being targeted by a new campaign by immigration reform advocates. (Leila Navidi/LAS VEGAS SUN)

A campaign set to be announced Thursday will marry the financial and political power of the AFL-CIO and SEIU labor unions with smaller grass-roots immigrant advocacy groups, including America’s Voice, PICO National Network, Mi Familia Vota and CASA in Action, to target nine House GOP lawmakers who support establishing a way for eligible immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship.

The campaign will target Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Joe Heck (R-Nev.). They represent districts with sizable Latino voting populations where President Obama won or performed well last year. They also have publicly voiced support for revamping the nation’s immigration laws.

Organizers said the goal of the campaign is to pressure the lawmakers to match their public statements by lobbying colleagues and House Republican leaders to permit votes on a series of immigration bills introduced in recent months. If the nine lawmakers fail to convince their colleagues by the end of the year, the groups plan to devote more resources to defeating them in next year’s elections and to expand their campaign.

“This is designed to tell Republicans that if you don’t take action on reform, there will be people who will take action in districts where Republicans are vulnerable to mobilize Latino and immigrant voters to reward or punish a member of Congress,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a leading national immigration advocacy group.

“A Republican majority in the House depends on people in vulnerable districts winning,” Sharry noted. “It just seems [House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)] and company are more worried about members being primaried by tea party challengers than their members in districts with growing Latino populations. This is designed to tell them, ‘Guess what — you’d better worry.’ “

The House is unlikely to consider any immigration legislation before Congress passes another short-term spending plan in mid-January, according to top Republican aides. Even if debate ever begins, Boehner and his lieutenants have said they will not support a comprehensive Senate plan that would allow illegal immigrants to pursue citizenship over a 13-year period, saying they will consider a series of smaller-scale bills.

House lawmakers are on recess this week, but a visit to Capitol Hill last week by hundreds of conservative business and religious leaders helped persuade some GOP lawmakers to take another look at the issue, said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who cosponsored the Senate plan passed this summer.

“There seems to be new life in the House on this,” he said Wednesday.

Flake served for 10 years in the House before ascending to the Senate in January and remains in close contact with House Republicans. He said there is growing interest in establishing ways for the children of undocumented immigrants and certain farm workers to more quickly gain U.S. citizenship, while establishing ways for the vast majority of undocumented immigrants to seek a permanent legal status.

“There’d be no special path created, but they would not be precluded from taking one of the paths that already exists,” Flake said.

Flake said there’s likely to be bipartisan support for the proposal, “because that’s the only way a deal can be had. I think there’s a good-faith effort underway on both sides of the aisle.”

Congressional Democrats also remain hopeful that House Republicans will quickly take up the issue, possibly in December before another round of negotiations over a short-term spending bill in January.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who worked with Flake on the Senate deal, has held several telephone conversations on the subject with senior GOP lawmakers, according to aides.

“Certainly politically it would benefit us if [House Republicans] don’t pass any bill, and they can’t pass any bill without some Democratic votes. But the overwhelming view of Democrats is that we’d sacrifice that political advantage to get a bill that moves America’s immigration policy forward,” Schumer said Wednesday.

The campaign launching Thursday will include outreach to nearly 90,000 voters in the nine districts through door-to-door outreach and phone calls. Additionally, the AFL-CIO announced plans Tuesday to spend more than $1 million on a bilingual television ad campaign in Bakersfield, Calif., Denver, Atlanta and Orlando and in the Washington, D.C. market. The SEIU plans to announce a similar ad campaign Thursday, according to people familiar with the plans.

Of the lawmakers targeted, Denham and Valadao have endorsed a comprehensive immigration bill authored by House Democrats that merges elements of the bipartisan Senate immigration plan passed over the summer with a bipartisan border security plan passed unanimously by a House committee in MayDenham said last week that he met with a good reception when he discussed the bill with colleagues during their weekly caucus-wide meeting.

Several of the other targeted Republicans reiterated their support for immigration reform this week but said they’re still reviewing the various proposals.

Aides to Heck said the congressman believes the House should act “in a timely manner.” Miller said in a statement that he plans to “closely examine the merits and consequences of any proposal.” Coffman said he is eager to work on the issue, “but that is appearing less likely given the limited time that is left on the calendar.”

Jackie Kucinich and David Nakamura contributed to this report.


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