Top California Business, Faith Leaders Urge Action on Immigration Reform

Assistant Director of Communications

August 29, 2013

For a recording of today’s call, click here.




LOS ANGELES — Top California faith, law enforcement and business leaders called for action on immigration reform during a statewide telephonic press conference Wednesday afternoon. The leaders spoke as a crucial August recess for the House of Representatives hurtles toward the finish line.

The call, sponsored by the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network as a part of the #BBBwinsAugust campaign, featured California business, agriculture and evangelical leaders. The call further underscores the momentum of Bibles, Badges and Business leaders who have been gathering across the country to show their members of Congress that they and their constituencies will support courageous lawmakers who act on broad immigration reform.



The following quotes can be attributed to speakers on Wednesday’s call:

Ruben Guerra, Chairman and CEO, Latin Business Association:

“Immigrants don’t want a handout. They want a hand up. They’re here for the opportunity. They are here to work and could be a huge help to the economy.  Small businesses are the engine of America. And the immigrant community is the biggest group starting small businesses right now. We have to be competitive, and our immigrant workers can help us be competitive worldwide.”

Mike McClenahan, Pastor, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Solana Beach, Calif.:

“I never thought I’d be talking about immigration reform except that our church has developed relationships with members of the immigrant community. Many children [of immigrants] are citizens, and they live in fear of their parents’ deportation. In the church we are family to each other. They are not just their children, but they’re our children. My advocacy is inspired by our members’ commitment and encouragement to get involved. As a part of this broad reform that we’re hoping for, I think there is an opportunity for these aspiring Americans to be fully accountable and earn their citizenship. I believe this is a moral issue, and as Americans, inaction is not an option.”

Rayne Pegg, Federal Policy Manager, California Farm Bureau Federation:

“We are seeing that farmers are struggling to find enough domestic labor. Farming is important to the California economy, both in rural and urban areas. Farmers and ranchers depend on an immigrant workforce and have been vocal in demanding that Congress fix our broken immigration system. Any immigration program must foster the continued growth of California farming by creating a visa program that allows people to come here legally and work in agriculture. At the same time, we must allow people who are already here, working to put food on our tables, to come out of the shadows, pass a background check and pay a fine in order to stay in the U.S.  If Congress does not act, the U.S. will be continuing a de facto amnesty program and allowing these issues to continue to harm our economy.”

Beneva Schulte, Executive Director, inSPIRE STEM USA:

“America suffers a shortage of workers trained in STEM fields, meaning thousands of high-skilled jobs are currently unfilled. Our ability to remain globally competitive rests largely on our ability to reform our immigration system and address the current STEM jobs gap to ensure we’re training the entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow.”

Joe Trauger, Vice President of Human Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers:

“Plain and simple, immigration reform is a competitiveness issue. Reform will strengthen us economically and reinforce the sense of community that manufacturers work around the clock to foster. Manufacturers want and need access to the best talent in the world if we are to remain competitive and grow. It makes little sense for us to educate bright and talented individuals only to force them home to compete against us.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #BBBwinsAugust.