Orange County Leaders Show Support for Commonsense Immigration Reform

April 5, 2013

COSTA MESA, Calif. —A collection of California growers and conservative Costa Mesa business, law enforcement, and faith communities spoke Thursday about the urgency of accountable and long-lasting solutions to our immigration system.  The press conference, hosted by CLUE and the “Bibles, Badges and Business” network, took place as members of Congress are home for the Easter recess and as both the Senate and House prepare to introduce immigration reform legislation later this month.

The pro-reform messages from Thursday’s event mark a significant departure from the harsh immigration rhetoric that characterized the city of Costa Mesa before and shows how far the immigration reform debate has moved forward in Orange County.

The following quotes can be attributed to speakers at Thursday’s discussion:

Tom Nassif, President and CEO, Western Growers:

“Almost a million farmworkers break the law to place tasty and nutritious fruit and vegetables on family tables. They do so for the chance of having a better life for themselves and their children. Voters understand that creating legal channels for farmworkers would allow us to better control our border and allow law enforcement to focus resources on those who pose real threats to national security — and it would improve the welfare of farmworkers and their families. Most American voters aren’t caught up in the harsh political rhetoric of immigration. Elected officials in both parties need only the good sense to listen and the will to act.”

Bow Loewen, President, Lincoln Club of Orange County:

“The Lincoln Club of Orange County has been at the forefront of this issue, urging our state and federal representatives to change the conversation about immigration. We want everyone to know that for even the most conservative Republicans, immigration reform is totally consistent with our core belief in the free market and free trade. Today, we are pleased to see a consensus developing that will allow undocumented workers to stay in this country under new immigration laws, and for the future, many Republicans are embracing the Lincoln Club proposal, which advocates for more immigration through a guest worker program based on actual business needs.”

Teresa Hernandez, local business owner and Lincoln Club Board Member:

“I am a business owner, a member of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, and a conservative Republican, and I favor immigration reform based on free market principles. Immigrant workers and their families are already an integral part of our economy and our communities. Study after study shows that immigrants are a net benefit to our economy.”

Tim Celek, Senior Pastor, The Crossing Church:

“In a country where more than 60 percent of our people now lean decisively toward broad, commonsense immigration solutions for those living in the shadows, I am optimistic that we will soon see bipartisan support of such a bill. Yet for me, this goes beyond the politics. As a Christian, it is about the dignity of human beings who, like me, are made in the image and likeness of God. I support a pathway toward citizenship for those who are presently supporting and strengthening our communities, our schools, as well as our businesses.”

Ed Fawcett, President, Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce:

“From a businessperson’s viewpoint, reforming the current immigration process is long overdue. For decades elected officials have acknowledged the need for comprehensive reform. I am cautiously encouraged by the recent bipartisan efforts to reform immigration laws and hope that it does not fall victim to what has become the ‘trench warfare’ of partisan politics.”

Christian Parra, Senior Pastor, Harbor Chrsitian Fellowship, Costa Mesa:

“I feel that it is our responsibility as Americans to reform our immigration system to ensure equal rights under the law and full participation for all members contributing to society. I pastor a church with many immigrants, and I know immigrants come here seeking freedom, to work hard, and to be responsible for their lives and their families. We should ensure a pathway to legalization and eventual citizenship for those who desire it, since we are a nation of immigrants and we pride ourselves in a vibrant and inclusive democracy.