National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Leaders Announce Energized Efforts for Immigration Reform in 2013

December 04, 2012

Video and pictures of the press conference and National Strategy Session available at http://forgingconsensus.org.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A powerful bipartisan alliance of faith, law enforcement and business leaders from across the country announced today newly energized efforts to push for top-to-bottom immigration reform in early 2013. Leaders spoke at a press conference inaugurating the two-day National Strategy Session, a gathering of over 250 leaders from 26 states including Arizona, Florida and Kansas.

This gathering builds on two years of hard work outside Washington, including successful regional summits, state compacts and other efforts in the Mountain West, Southeast and Midwest at which hundreds of business, faith and law-enforcement leaders have built new relationships, discussed state policies and urged pragmatic federal solutions. Now, these conversations are turning into action. This critical new alliance is ready to drive the issue to the fore and apply pressure on Republicans and Democrats in Congress and on President Obama to ensure broad immigration reform is the first legislative priority in 2013.

The statements below can be attributed to the following speakers at the press conference:

The Honorable Mark Shurtleff (R), Attorney General, Utah:
“This great nation needs to relight the fire that burns with the promise of the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ Reasonable and compassionate immigration reform will energize our country, enrich our economy and unite all of us with freedom and liberty.”

Brad Bailey, Co-founder and CEO, Texas Immigration Solution:
“For over two decades, families and business owners have been forced to operate in an outdated national immigration system. Both sides of the aisle have kicked the can down the road, putting even more stress on families, business owners and communities. It is time for our congressional leaders to stop complaining about the problem and lead in providing efficient, pro-family, market-based solutions to our nation’s broken immigration policy.”

Sheldon Brown, Dairy Farmer and Owner, Woody Hill Farms, Salem, N.Y.:
“Our dairy farm business would not be as successful were it not for the dedicated, hard-working, family-oriented immigrant labor staff we have worked with over the past 15 years. Congress must act on immigration solutions that provide a stable, skilled and legal workforce for dairy farms and for America’s businesses across the country.”

The Rev. Luis Cortés Jr., President, Esperanza:
“I believe we have the will on both sides of the aisle to hammer out a solution to the immigration dilemma that has confounded our nation for over a decade. The entire Hispanic faith community has been joined by thousands of evangelicals of all ethnicities in prayer for God’s guidance and wisdom for our elected officials.”

Mark C. Curran Jr., Sheriff, Lake County, Ill.:
“Twenty-first century policing has to be about community policing. However, the fear and uncertainty attached to law enforcement as a result of our current immigration policies makes community policing almost impossible.”

Natalie Gochnour, Executive Vice President of Policy and Communication and Chief Economist, Salt Lake Chamber:
“In Utah, the business community, interfaith leaders, law enforcement representatives and other community leaders and citizenry signed the Utah Compact in 2010, committing ourselves to a civil, constructive and compassionate immigration discussion. This principled approach resulted in groundbreaking state legislation that balanced the need for improved enforcement with the very real economic and humanitarian concerns associated with immigration in our state. We now turn our focus to the federal government and ask for equally groundbreaking federal legislation this coming year."

Dr. Richard Land, President, Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:
“Fair and just immigration reform is first and foremost a moral issue. God has definite opinions about how we treat ‘the stranger in our midst’ (Lev. 19:33-34; Matt. 25:35). We must resolve our nation’s immigration crisis and reform its immigration system in ways that respect the rule of law and the human dignity of the undocumented.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Immigration reform is both a vertical and horizontal issue. Vertically, the heart of God stands moved by the plight of the immigrant and the suffering. Horizontally, passing immigration reform will serve as a reconciliatory prescription for a nation divided by partisan politics. At the end of the day, this issue is not about the agenda of the donkey or the elephant. Immigration reform is about the agenda of the Lamb.”

The Most Reverend Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento, Calif., United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
“Immigration is a humanitarian issue with moral implications. Our country can no longer accept the toil and sweat equity of undocumented workers while at the same time scapegoating them, dividing their families, and denying them basic protections. This is the moral issue our nation and our elected officials must confront in the months ahead.”

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
It’s quite an accomplishment to get Bibles, Badges and Business together all in one room and agreeing on something this big. This reminds us all that Christmas really is a time for miracles. The country is hungry to see our political leaders work together and find a bipartisan solution to an issue of this magnitude. And I have faith that comprehensive immigration reform is that common ground.”

Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum:
“Eighteen months ago, faith, law enforcement and business leaders launched a campaign to forge a new consensus on immigrants and America. The consensus we discovered is steeped in the common values of family, work and security shared by conservatives and liberals alike. We found that Americans aren’t divided by the immigration debate; rather, politicians on both sides of the aisle use the immigration debate to divide Americans. That is no longer acceptable. The President and Congress must work together in 2013 to create a 21st century immigration process.”

Follow the conversation at #NewConsensus and @NewConsensus

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