National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Media

Leaders Announce “Texas Compact” as Immigration Reform Gains Momentum

February 19, 2013

**To listen to a recording of today’s call, visit http://tinyurl.com/Compact0219**


TEXAS — This morning, Texas leaders in the faith, law enforcement and business communities announced the Texas Compact, a declaration of principles to guide the immigration debate in Texas and urge immigration reform at the federal level. As momentum continues to build for broad, commonsense federal reform, these principles serve to remind the Texas delegation in Congress that Texans support broad, bipartisan reform.

Initial signatories comprise faith, law enforcement and business leaders from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, including Henry Cisneros, Chairman of CityView and Former Mayor of San Antonio. The compact follows the immigration-focused Texas Summit in Austin last week and paves the way for “Immigration Summit 2.0” in Houston on Wednesday.

The quotes below can be attributed to the following speakers at today’s press conference:

Mike Nichols, Co-chair of the Texas Compact and Retired Senior Vice President of Administration and General Counsel, Sysco Corp:
“There seems to be a fear by many Texas congressmen to support immigration reform. We are hoping that this Texas Compact, led by faith leaders, social service leaders, education leaders and business leaders, will give the courage to take the correct action and move forward comprehensive immigration reform.”

Marlin R. Suell, Chief Deputy at the Dallas County Sheriff's Department:
“As law enforcement leaders, our first priority is public safety. That is why we are here. That is what the communities and the citizens that we serve require from us. We see how communities can become less safe when residents don’t trust local law enforcement. We have to be allowed to do our job and keep our communities safe and not spend time and efforts on federal immigration laws. We feel like with a collaborative effort, we can make the right decisions and continue to protect but also provide a community for everyone here in Texas.”

Deborah Fikes, Executive Advisor to the World Evangelical Alliance and Board Member of the National Association of Evangelicals:
“Scripture — Old Testament and New Testament — repeatedly commands followers of Christ to care for the stranger, to welcome them. Sometimes laws need to be changed, and I feel like our laws have been very, very draconian. It has hurt families tremendously. ... We can no longer justify not being on the forefront of this issue, because if we say we follow Christ, then we are commanded to love and welcome the stranger — immigrants. We must seek justice for them.”

Laura G. Murillo, President and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:
“Certainly with Texas and our proximity to Mexico, which is the U.S.’s second-largest trading partner, we understand the importance and the value that immigrants bring to this country. We need to continue to promote commerce, trade, tourism. For Texas in particular, that’s truly a huge, huge economic factor for us.”

Marcia Nichols, Co-chair of the Texas Compact:
“One of the reasons we have the breadth, the hard work of individuals trying to come to our country is because we have done something very right in the past. We have provided platforms through education, through opportunities, through a system of laws, for individuals with hard work and with a vision of themselves that exceeds their present reality — they have been able to be a part of this great experiment called democracy. … We have an opportunity to align our political creativity with our highest values.”

Mark Shurtleff, Member of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Forum and Republican Former Attorney General of Utah:
“We’re building a tidal wave heading towards Washington, D.C., giving strength and support and guidance and direction, hopefully, to our members of Congress. They are now finally talking about a bipartisan approach to comprehensive immigration reform … The timing is now for comprehensive, just, compassionate, commonsense immigration reform. The word needs to get to those members of Congress that you can do the right thing.”

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