WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Democratic and a Republican senator, as well as faith, law enforcement and business leaders from across the country, engaged in meaningful dialogue around a consensus on immigration at a convening today.
At Leading the Way: An American Approach to Immigration, speakers focused on addressing political polarization, the multifaceted benefits of immigration to the U.S., and an in-depth look at our southern border.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) kicked off the discussion while accepting the Courage to Lead Award for their commitment to bipartisan immigration solutions.
“This is an issue we have to face, we have to address, and we have to get right,” said Sen. Gardner. “When it comes to immigration, there’s so much common ground between these people who think they’re completely at odds with each other.”
“Behind my desk in the Capitol building is my mother’s naturalization certificate … as a reminder of who I am and how lucky I am to be here,” said Sen. Durbin. Of the ability to find compromise on immigration, he added, “I still believe in the fundamental goodness of the people of this country today.”
“If you look at the places that are the most evangelistic, you’re going to find people with deep connections with their neighbors with whom they disagree who they do not demonize,” said Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “Our biggest obstacle is not clarity, it’s courage.”
“Public safety should not be a partisan issue,” said Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. “We’re looking to engage and be a part of helping every person in the community.”
“The families that we receive are fleeing a sense of fear … the problem is not solved just by turning our backs on them,” said Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. “People are afraid because of what they hear on the news, and the rhetoric [around immigration] … I just invite them to come and see [the reality at the border].”
“Today’s convening brought together a broad range of perspectives united around a common vision for America — one that transcends geographic and political boundaries to advance immigration solutions that benefit all Americans,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “At a time when immigration seems like an increasingly divisive issue, Leading the Way is a reminder that the majority of Americans can agree on practical, compassionate immigration solutions that help all Americans prosper.”