Conservative Local Leaders in the Midwest Stress Need for Productive Immigration Conversation

Digital and Design Associate

August 4, 2016

CHICAGO — With immigration remaining a subject for political point-scoring this election year, conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders in the Midwest and Pennsylvania remain focused on the need for a more productive conversation.

Their remarks are in keeping with a July Gallup poll in which more than three-quarters of Republican respondents favored the opportunity to earn citizenship for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

“Local business, law enforcement and faith leaders across the country are speaking out for the contributions of immigrants and the need for a better conversation around immigration,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “We need to address our broken immigration system in a way that best serves our country’s communities, families and economy. Taking into account what local leaders have to say is the first step toward starting this dialogue.”

The following are quotes from local leaders in the region:

Rev. Dr. Judy Baumgartner, Associate Pastor, Hope Assembly of God, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania:
“Most immigrants are hurting and, like others from previous times, are looking for hope and better lives for themselves and their families.

“While there are some in our country welcoming them and working to meet physical needs among the immigrants already here, there are few who are not just sharing bread, but sharing Jesus, the bread of life. We should not be afraid to welcome immigrants. This is a great opportunity for all Christians and the churches they represent to share, to show, to introduce Jesus!”

Randy Gaber, Assistant Chief of Police, Madison, Wisconsin:
“Given what is taking place across our great nation, it is more important than ever that law enforcement agencies across the country work to establish trust-based relationships with all members of our communities. This is especially true in our immigrant communities as they too live, work and play in our cities, towns and neighborhoods.

“Keeping commonsense immigration reform as a prominent issue in the months and years ahead will help to ensure our immigrants will no longer fear contacts with our government, and will instead become active participants in creating and promoting safety and security in all of our communities.”

Tom Peters, Director of Workforce Development, Symbol Training Institute, Skokie, Illinois:
“I am a big believer in encouraging a more constructive dialogue on immigrants and immigration, being a first generation immigrant myself. My family and I had to endure the struggles and hardships of relocating to a new country. Immigrants come here first and foremost for a better life than the one they left behind, and America is far better because of that. The land of freedom should always remain open and encourage a healthy dialogue on benefits of immigration.”