New Congress Must Renew Commitment to Improve Immigration
January 03, 2013
Washington, D.C — Today starting at noon, the 113th Congress is being sworn in. Following an election in which both parties competed for new American voters, Republicans and Democrats alike recognize that now is the time to transcend partisan politics and create a better immigration process. Whether they are up to the challenge or not is the question.
“As we welcome the new Congress to Washington, we also welcome the new, bipartisan climate around immigration that has emerged in the past year,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “With Democrats and Republicans recognizing the moral, economic and political imperative to fix the immigration system, the 113th Congress marks the best opportunity for broad immigration reform in nearly a decade. Americans across the political spectrum are ready for action on immigration. Now is the time.”
Members of Congress who show leadership on immigration reform will find broad support among voters. A December Politico/George Washington University poll showed that 62 percent of Americans support a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including an edge of 49 percent to 45 percent among Republicans.
“Key faith, law enforcement and business leaders — the political base for congressional Republicans — have forged a new consensus on immigrants and America and are on the cusp of launching grassroots efforts to support their legislators,” Noorani added.
Local “Bibles, Badges and Business” leaders from around the country gathered in Washington last month to meet with legislators and underscore the need for a rational bipartisan conversation that leads to broad, commonsense reform, and they are keeping the pressure on in the new year, bringing a local perspective on the importance of reform.
“The contribution of foreign-born labor to the Idaho economy is substantial,” Kenneth McClure, counsel for the Idaho Business Coalition for Immigration Reform, said at the December event. “In Idaho, a vibrant economy demands labor that our local labor force can’t supply. If we’re to grow, if we’re to prosper, we need [immigrant] labor at both ends of the [economic] spectrum.”
“Immigration is not a political issue for us, it’s a moral, biblical, personal issue for us,” added Dr. David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Baptist Church, Houston. “We are building a consensus [on immigrants and America] outside the Beltway that will have implications inside the Beltway.”
Since the election, momentum for reform has only increased as national conservative leaders have joined these leaders in “Bibles, Badges and Business” in acknowledging the social and economic need for change.
“It’s time for Congress and the president to rise above partisan rhetoric and negotiate a new immigration process that strengthens our economy, our families and our security,” Noorani said. “To keep America competitive and prosperous, the 113th Congress must pass, and the president must sign, broad immigration reform.”