Ahead of Primaries, Conservative Leaders Emphasize Need for a Better Immigration Conversation

Communications Associate

February 23, 2016

Local Leaders in Ala., Ga., Okla., Nev. Show Support for Immigrants

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite continuing anti-immigrant rhetoric on the campaign trail, conservative leaders from many corners of the country are gathering to stress the contributions of immigrants to their communities and highlight the need for immigration reform.

Under the banner “America Is Better: Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform,” events this week involve local leaders in Las Vegas; Oklahoma City; Troy, Ala.; and Atlanta.

On Monday, local leaders in Nevada met at a roundtable to discuss the positive impact that immigrants have had on their communities and underscore the need for comprehensive reform.

“My congregation is filled with good people, good students who need their dreams supported,” said Estuardo Escobar, pastor of Adonai International Church. “I want to not only help support them but work with other community members to change our immigration laws.”

The roundtable, held ahead of today’s Nevada Republican Caucus, also aimed to encourage presidential candidates to move toward a more sensible and inclusive path for immigrants in America.

With nearly one-fifth of its population foreign-born as of 2013, Nevada reflects the country’s changing demographics in addition to being a political swing state. Business and faith communities in the Silver State long have expressed strong support for immigrants and broad immigration reform.

But calls for reform are coming not only from debatably purple states with large immigrant populations. Today local leaders are meeting in Troy, Alabama, and Oklahoma City. The Atlanta gathering will take place Wednesday.

“Immigration reform is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It is not a Latino issue. Immigration reform is not about amnesty. Immigration reform is a Biblical issue.,” said Dr. Arlita Harris, Oklahoma Church Mobilizer for the Evangelical Immigration Table. “ … Immigration affects human beings living in our communities. Our nation has acted on slavery, women’s rights, and other human rights [issues]. It’s time to deal with immigration reform.”

“From swing states to deeply red states, conservative leaders are underscoring the contributions of immigrants and calling for a better conversation on immigration,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Faith, business and law enforcement leaders from Alabama to Nevada and Oklahoma to Georgia are underlining that America is better when the immigration conversation adheres to our longstanding values and offers real solutions. We need to address our broken immigration system in a way that best serves our country’s communities, families and economy.”