National Immigration Forum

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U.S. Chamber, Southern Baptists Make Immigration Reform One of Their Top Legislative Priorities

January 17, 2013

**Video available at www.c-span.org**


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Days before the inauguration and just as the 113th Congress is settling into place, the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a former Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush joined law enforcement and faith leaders at a press conference today to urge Congress to work together and pass broad immigration reform in 2013. With Democrats and Republicans recognizing the moral, economic and political imperative to improve our immigration process, the new Congress marks the best opportunity for broad immigration reform in nearly a decade.

These leaders from the national, state and local level discussed the new consensus on immigrants and America that has emerged in the past 18 months as Americans across the political spectrum have come together to seek a new, workable immigration process. Most recently, local faith, law enforcement and business leaders from around the country gathered in Washington in December to meet with legislators and underscore the need for a rational bipartisan conversation that leads to broad, commonsense reform.

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

Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

“Our current immigration system is broken. It’s not serving the interests of our economy, our businesses, or our society. Immigration reform is an opportunity to fundamentally improve our global competitiveness, attract and retain the world’s best talent and hardest workers, secure our borders, and keep faith with America’s legacy as an open and welcoming society.

“We need a lawful, rational, and workable immigration system that secures our borders, provides the workers we need at all skill levels, and protects the rights of citizens, businesses, the undocumented, and those legally pursuing citizenship. The Chamber will make passage of immigration reform legislation one of our top priorities.”

Indiana Attorney General Gregory F. Zoeller:

"The federal government has failed to perform its duty establishing immigration policy and enforcing existing immigration laws even though the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear this is primarily a federal, not a state, responsibility. Local and state law enforcement officers are reluctant to step into the role of being federal immigration agents over rightful concern of lawsuits, while immigrants are often victims of crime yet fear going to law enforcement. This is an opportunity for Congress to demonstrate it can achieve meaningful reform on a bipartisan basis.”

Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

“Just immigration reform is a top-priority issue for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. We do not intend to let this fail. We will stay on top of this issue until Washington, D.C., and Congress do right by the 11 million undocumented immigrants here in our country. Millions of hardworking, peace-loving immigrants are caught in a no-man’s-land in this land of opportunity. They cannot improve life for themselves and their families and they dare not come out of the shadows to ask for help. It falls to us who value them as human beings created in the image of God to make a pathway for them out of despair and into hope. It’s what love would do.”

Carlos Gutierrez, Vice Chairman, Citigroup; former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush:

“The whole economy is suffering because we can’t grow without immigration. If we don’t get this right, shame on us, because this is about the future of our country, this is about competitiveness, this is about who is going to be a global leader in the 21st century. This has to become the No. 1 priority for the president, for Congress, to come together and say, ‘We’re going to fix this problem.’ ”

Ambassador (Ret) Johnny Young, Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

“Congress and the Administration must seize the moment on immigration. Because of our broken system, families are being divided and migrants are dying in the desert. We must repair the system and end this suffering.”

Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum:

“There are many important issues for the 113th Congress to address. But there are few issues that have a past, a present and a future of bipartisan support like immigration reform. Today’s event is another indicator of the new consensus on immigrants and America that has emerged.”

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www.ForgingConsensus.org

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