Conservative Local Leaders Stress Need for Productive Immigration Conversation

Assistant Director of Communications

August 4, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With immigration remaining a subject for political point-scoring this election year, conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders across the nation remain focused on the need for a more productive conversation.

In the Southeast, South, Midwest and West, leaders are speaking about immigrants as people in their communities, and about the benefits of eventual immigration reform. A sample of their comments is below.

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:

Dr. Bart Barber, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas:
“I’m in favor of any immigration policy we can support by telling God’s truth, promoting justice, and upholding the Constitution. Those are all conservative principles.

“The status quo is propped up by lies told about immigrants and about people who seek sensible immigration reform, is rife with the injustice of ignoring the law for some while strictly enforcing it for others, and at times involves rhetoric that undermines Constitutional principles such as religious liberty or the necessity of securing the border against invasion.

“That’s why conservatives committed to truth, justice, and the American way ought to enter a better conversation about how to reform our immigration law.”

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.”

Rev. Brian Miller, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Montgomery, Alabama:
“My evangelical faith is built on the understanding that all humans are created in the image of God, that all are stained by brokenness, and that through Christ all may experience redemption. Our current conversation on immigration doesn’t reflect this foundational hope. When Jesus speaks with the woman at the well, when Elijah revives the widow of Zeraphath’s son, when Elisha heals Naaman, we are shown humble ways to approach the other. Perhaps, our biblical faith can be more explicitly a part of the conversation.”

Jeff Wasden, President, Colorado Business Roundtable:
“As a Republican businessman in Colorado the immigration conversation nationally is quite frankly embarrassing. It is damaging to our brand as Americans and who we are as a society. As someone with both a heart and a business mind, I believe we need to fix the immigration system to move our economy forward. There is significant agreement on many of the tenets of reform that would positively impact our communities and businesses.”