WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 200 faith, law enforcement, business and other leaders from 29 states made it clear at a convening today: We need a humane, constructive way forward on immigration that will benefit all American workers.
At Leading the Way: A New Approach to American Immigration, speakers focused on security and the border, growing American jobs, resettling refugees and welcoming immigrants in times of conflict, and the road forward in an anxious time.
Keynote speaker Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) emphasized the need for solutions over politics, especially regarding Dreamers.
“I want a conservative, sustainable solution that does the right thing for this population [of Dreamers],” Tillis said.
Also present in the room: hope and a sense of urgency.
“I’m very optimistic that this is the time to get things done. I don’t care about the political party that gets the credit for it. The time is now,” said Paola Avila, Vice President of International Business Affairs, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“The whole world is facing a demographic challenge. Countries that are open to immigration are going to handle it better than those that are not,” said Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“In the time of the greatest need for refugees, the U.S. responsibility has shrunk quite considerably. Above all else, it impacts the vulnerable refugee. But it also impacts our own culture and society and our moral fiber,” said Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief. “We believe you can be both pro-security and pro-refugee.”
“The thoughtful conversations at today’s convening provide a practical way forward amid often heated immigration rhetoric. Together, with these different perspectives, we can work toward an immigration process that meets our needs and aligns with our values,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “If we continue to have the will to find common ground, then we can ensure protection for Dreamers as well as strengthen and improve our immigration system for the future.”
To request a recording of the convening or interviews with participants, contact Cathleen Farrell, 202-403-4190.