National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Across the Country, Energy for Broad Immigration Reform Builds As Congress Returns to Washington

April 05, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As members of Congress wrap up a two-week recess and gear up for the introduction of immigration reform legislation in both the Senate and House, momentum for broad, commonsense immigration reform has continued to build in their home districts. In an article today, POLITICO points to the broad support for reform from all parts of the political spectrum, including an “entirely new front from the right on immigration reform”. Lawmakers will return to D.C. bolstered by constituents, including conservative voters, who made clear that they support bipartisan reform and that the time is now.

Evangelical communities, law enforcement officials and business leaders across the country are taking the consensus they have been building for more than two years and putting it into action. They also are putting money behind the effort to pass commonsense immigration reform in 2013. For example, a Christian radio ad campaign by the Evangelical Immigration Table has expanded from South Carolina to Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Texas.

“We see the immigrant as a person created in the image of God. They’re husbands and wives, they’re parents, they’re children,” Rev. Dr. David Fleming, Senior Pastor at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, said upon the announcement of the new ads. “White evangelicals have been listening to the voice of the extreme, but give education to our people, they are changing their minds on this issue…I believe and my experience has been here in Texas that conservative Christians and evangelicals are rising to support a biblical approach to this very complex issue.”

In addition, at more than a dozen pro-reform events in Illinois, Indiana, California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee. “Bibles, Badges and Business” leaders are showing that their constituencies will support courageous lawmakers who act on broad immigration reform in coming weeks and months. In Modesto, California, 1,500 people joined a forum on immigration at the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church featuring Rep. Jeff Tenham (R-CA) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration. Participants called on lawmakers to make broad immigration reform with an earned path to citizenship a priority in Congress.

In Indianapolis, a business-oriented forum featured the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association, the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the senior vice president of Indiana’s largest integrated communications company speaking on the urgency for reform. “The recent federal court decision striking down Indiana’s immigration law as unconstitutional reinforces that fact that we must convince Congress to act swiftly to update and reform our country’s outdated immigration laws,” said Mike Murphy, Senior Vice President of Hirons and Company and a Republican who served for 16 years in the Indiana General Assembly. “Immigrants must once again be considered our nation’s strength, not a liability.”

And at an in-person press conference this week at the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales reiterated the need for reform from the law enforcement perspective. “It is past time for the president and Congress to do their job and pass comprehensive immigration reform that enhances our national and law enforcement security, bolsters our economy, and is consistent with the rule of law and our notions of fairness and compassion,” Gonzales said.

Other events featuring faith, law enforcement and business leaders include:
• a Kansas roundtable discussion featuring the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the former Republican Attorney General.
• a Good Friday discussion in northern Colorado about the “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge.
• a press conference in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Baptist clergy urging Sens. Hagan and Burr to support immigration reform.
• an evangelical event in Jacksonville, Fla., to discuss a biblical way forward on immigration.

“Today’s immigration debate is different than the immigration debate of 2006 and 2007,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Once you get outside of the Beltway you find energy and momentum from the ‘Bibles, Badges and Business’ communities for prompt action on broad immigration reform. There is no other policy issue under consideration by Congress right now that has the depth and breadth of bipartisan support that immigration reform enjoys.”

Added Noorani, “The collective energy these events are generating around broad immigration reform translates to a clear call to members of Congress: We need accountable and practical immigration reform that strengthens our economy and reflects our tradition as both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.”

For more information about the Evangelical Immigration Table’s immigration radio ad campaign, please click here.

For more information about events with the law enforcement, faith and business community, please click here.

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