Click here for a recording of today’s call.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Immigration has a unique potential to unify Americans, speakers on a press call today agreed.
The call featured immigration experts and two participants in local “Living Room Conversations” on immigration in Arizona and South Carolina. These and 24 other Living Room Conversations around the country informed a new report from the National Immigration Forum in partnership with More in Common, “Out of Many, One: A Defining Moment for American Immigration.”
More in Common also launched its Hidden Tribes project this week with an initial study that provides insight into the values that shape Americans’ attitudes on immigration.
The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:
Chief Ramon Batista, Mesa, Arizona, Police Department; Living Room Conversation host:
“At the end of the day, immigrants believe in the same things that native-born Americans believe. They want to work hard, they want to provide for their family, they are God-fearing folks and they really do believe in the rule of law.”
Stephen Hawkins, Director of Research, More in Common:
“We have people on the left on the right who are part of an ‘exhausted majority’ … they’re tired of the division of society. They absolutely feel that the country is being pulled apart, and are eager for conversations to be had about how we can address that.”
Mohammed Naeem, U.S. Associate, More in Common:
“Our main aim is to build a more united, resilient and inclusive America. The story that is often told is that the U.S. is profoundly polarized and is generally a 50-50 country, and that’s just not the case. … Americans are frustrated by division and social fragmentation. Moving beyond our polarization is possible.”
Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum:
“Democrat, Republican or independent, Americans want their leadership to rise above the polarization and partisanship to find pragmatic and rational solutions to the immigration debate. … Immigration is one of the few issues with a modern history of bipartisan leadership … we hope that if we keep listening, keep engaging, and keep envisioning a new approach to American immigration that ultimately will come back together.”
Meghan Smith, Director of College and Career Readiness, Spartanburg Academic Movement; Living Room Conversation participant:
“Spartanburg is a vibrant community because of, not in spite of, those who were born elsewhere. But communities grow at the rate of trust. In order for us to become a more thriving community we must find ways to get to know our immigrant neighbors to better value their contributions, aspirations, and concerns and work toward mutual solutions that benefit all of us.”