This Week in Immigration Reform: A Focus on Welcoming Immigrants

Despite of the fading chances for passage of immigration reform in 2013, it’s still a wild ride if you are following congressional developments closely. While last week’s signs of stalemate included continued focus on an uncertain timeframe, floundering from Sen. Marco Rubio on the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill, and the first words on a controversial Republican attempt to address legal status for a subset of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants, the week also saw some movement

The New York Times previewed a lobbying effort that will hit the Capitol this week, consisting of “about 600 mostly conservative leaders in business, agriculture and religion who will focus on 80 representatives from 40 states—all of them Republicans.” Yesterday, California’s Jeff Denham became the first Republican to join 185 Democratic co-sponsors of the House’s comprehensive immigration bill.  Will Nevada’s Joe Heck, who recently voiced his frustration over lack of Republican leadership on reform, be the next to add his name?

The White House reaffirmed its commitment to immigration Thursday, with President Obama delivering a speech urging the House of Representatives to act on reform this year. The president’s sentiments echo across the country—from mayors in Illinois and Kansas to local leaders in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

In state policy, there is renewed interest on driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants in Rhode Island and restricting local enforcement of immigration laws in Maryland.

This month, both Tennessee and Massachusetts are celebrating immigrants in their state. As the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition turns 10, The Tennessean lauds the state’s integration efforts, and Massachusetts recognizes Immigrant Entrepreneur Month.

Lastly, the American Immigration Council’s Immigration Impact reported Atlanta became the 22nd member of the Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative and highlighted a new report from the University of Denver quantifying the many employment-based contributions of immigrants to metropolitan areas