Bibles, Badges and Business Leaders Praise Important First Step

April 18, 2013

​WASHINGTON, D.C. — Flanked by prominent Bibles, Badges and Business representatives, the bipartisan Senate Gang of  8 publicly introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 this afternoon at a press conference. Just hours before, faith, law enforcement and business leaders who are also part of the “Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform” network applauded the legislation and encouraged members of Congress to move forward on commonsense and accountable immigration solutions.

“I am encouraged that today Democrats and Republicans joined together to introduce a comprehensive reform bill that includes a provision to help the U.S. recruit and retain talented immigrants from around the world,” added Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC and Co-Founder of America Online. “Just as we secure the border and create a pathway to citizenship, so too must we win the global battle for talent so that we help entrepreneurs create American jobs. This is a rare moment of bipartisan progress on a critical issue and I applaud members of congress on both sides of the aisle and the White House. There is still work to be done, but I am optimistic that a comprehensive immigration reform agreement will become law in the next few months.”

Much work lies ahead as the bill is debated in Congress, and Bibles, Badges and Business (BBB) leaders are offering strong support for legislators to follow through and replace our broken immigration system with the process we so urgently need. Law enforcement and business leaders highlighted the economic and security imperatives for acting on reform now:

“For years we have called upon Congress and the executive branch to fulfill their responsibility in securing the nation’s borders and enacting and enforcing immigration policy.  State governments and our law enforcement officers have been put in an untenable position caused by this failure of the federal government.  It is up to Congress to debate the details of the policy proposal, but I am encouraged to see a bipartisan effort that is supported by both labor and business.  Hopefully the legal authority of state governments and law enforcement will be protected, consistent with public safety,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, said in a prepared statement.

“We recognize in law enforcement that we have to fix our legal immigration system in order to reduce illegal immigration,” said Mark Shurtleff, Former Republican Attorney General of Utah and a National Immigration Forum Board Member. “By modernizing our system, by making it legal and accountable, we can take control of immigration once again in America, continue to make it the great boon to our country that it has been in the past.”

“The U.S. dairy industry competes in a global market.  We cannot compete either domestically or internationally if we do not have a reliable, skilled workforce,” said Brad Bateman, Utah Dairy Producer.  Our current immigration laws are undermining our competitiveness.  Estimates show every job on a farm in this country supports as many as 3-4 more food industry jobs.  In order to feed America and the world, and to allow businesses to grow and create jobs for U.S. workers, we need a stable, legal framework that regulates immigration and offers agriculture the labor force it needs.”

With Congress on the verge of a major breakthrough, BBB network leaders will redouble their efforts to help Republicans and Democrats preserve the common ground they have found and pass immigration reform into law this year. Evangelical leadership has increasingly leading the effort to forge a values-based conversation on immigrants and immigration. Yesterday, hundreds of evangelicals celebrated the national “Day of Prayer and Action on Immigration Reform” on Capitol Hill, showing the growing support from the evangelical community on fair and practical reform.

“The Bible has lots to say about how we treat immigrants,” said Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals. “When we connect what the Bible says to our broken immigration system, it points us to comprehensive reform. After years of waiting and praying, it’s time to get this done.”

“Engaging a biblical narrative as a metaphor, the immigration cause no longer resides in the Egypt of political apathy or the desert of inevitable deportation. Today, this just cause stands before the Jordan called reform. With prophetic courage, spiritual fortitude and political will, we will cross into the promised land of integration, thus protecting our values, borders and dream,” said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

“This is what America wants: Republicans and Democrats working together to create real solutions,” concluded Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “The bipartisan Senate bill is a strong start.  It includes all the core elements necessary for reform. It holds everyone accountable, strengthens the economy, ensures our competitiveness and creates a road to citizenship for contributing immigrants who have been here for years, working and raising families. Now it’s time for Congress to get to work passing fair and practical reform into law.”