Awareness - May 30, 2024 - We Welcome

Awareness - May 30, 2024

U.S. Senate once again votes down border security legislation 

A bipartisan border security bill crafted by Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and originally voted down in February, was again brought to procedural vote and quickly defeated last Thursday. Notably, Senators Lankford and Sinema voted against bringing their own bill to debate this time around, stating that re-introducing the bill appeared to be a political stunt rather than a serious effort to address border security. “Today is not a bill. Today is a prop. Today is a political messaging exercise,” Lankford said before the vote. “That doesn’t help us as a country.”

The bill’s other negotiator, Senator Murphy, and Representative Tony Gonzales (R-TX) both stated on Sunday that, while reports of migrant encounters at the border have dropped significantly in April and May, those lower numbers will not continue long term and Congress needs to act. They attributed the recent decrease, at least in part, to an increase in enforcement by the Mexican government. “I don’t know that it’s permanent. And so I think we have to just recognize that without updating the laws of this country, without surging more resources to the border, we can’t count on the numbers staying as low as they are today,” Murphy said.

Several organizations, including the National Immigration Forum, recently released a framework that congressional leaders could reference to update the country’s outdated immigration laws. The framework addresses the current border challenges and prioritizes order, security, and humanity.

Denver launches innovative migrant support strategy

Denver has developed a new migrant support program to help people arriving in their city after entering the U.S. The city is working with several area nonprofit organizations to provide English, computer, financial literacy, and workers rights courses and to help migrants obtain credentials in fields such as construction and healthcare. They are also providing migrants with 6 months of housing and food assistance, a free computer, a prepaid cell phone, and bus passes. Additionally, the program will also provide help with asylum applications and work authorization.

The city has recently released a Newcomers Playbook to assist other cities to develop their own programs.