In Contrast to the Debate, Local Leaders Call for a Better Immigration Conversation

Communications Associate

March 4, 2016

HOLLAND, Mich. — In contrast with the debate across the state in Detroit, local faith, law enforcement and business leaders held a constructive conversation about immigrants and immigration during a panel discussion in Holland Thursday evening.

Participants advocated for immigrants and the value they bring to the community. They also emphasized the biblical call to welcome the stranger and the need for long-lasting, broad immigration reform.

“I think one of the most significant factors in America’s long-term success has been the ability to attract and assimilate immigrants,” said Seth Getz, Business Coach/Entrepreneur in Residence, Business Mastery/CFL Incubator at Hope College in Holland. “ … These are brave people who don’t just settle for the status quo but are willing to take the risk involved in the pursuit of a better opportunity. Why wouldn’t we want these people here? These are the qualities that make this country such an amazing place.

“Immigration has been — and will continue to be — one of the things that has and will continue to make this country great, and maybe we need to start practicing some radical hospitality.”

“Churches forget that hospitality begins outside, and then moves inward into homes where friendship with immigrants occurs. The bible calls for God’s people to welcome the stranger,” added Rev. Jose Angel Lopez Dominguez, Minister and Classis Coordinator for Multicultural Ministries for the Reformed Church in America’s Holland Classis.

“Families that are constantly in fear of deportation; lack access to quality, low-cost legal services; are unauthorized to work; or are trapped in violent situations — these folks struggle to maintain stability and economic security,” said Sarah E. Yore-Van Oosterhout, ‎Executive Director and Senior Staff Attorney at Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates. “Unstable families and families suffering from economic insecurity lead to instability in our communities, schools and workplaces. This is an issue that impacts everyone in our community: rich and poor, young and old, citizen and noncitizen.”