Faith, Law Enforcement, Business Leaders Urge Constructive Approach on Immigration

Communications Associate

November 11, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Faith, law enforcement and business leaders are calling on the new Congress and administration to act on broad immigration reform.

Their urgency comes as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), a member of the bipartisan Gang of Eight that introduced immigration reform in 2013, said he’s optimistic about working with Trump on the issue, and that “there’s not going to be a 700-mile wall.”

“Conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders want practical solutions on immigration. The only realistic way forward is a new immigration process that emphasizes security, accountability, family and fairness to all American workers,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.

The following are quotes from leaders across the country:

Rev. Dr. Donald J. Dawson, Former Director of World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the new Wilmington Mission Conference:
“The election campaign has highlighted a broken immigration process. The voices of evangelical Christians are crucial for immigration reform. Christians know the value of loving neighbor and practicing hospitality. Fears have prevented our nation from doing the right thing toward immigrants. God gives courage to overcome fear and treat strangers with dignity.”

Noah Filipiak, Pastor, Crossroads Church, Lansing, Michigan:
“Undocumented immigrants are an ingrained part of the American society and economy. They are also human beings who are our friends and families and are worthy of the dignity and respect America says it is built on. We must reform our immigration system so these 11 million friends can have a path to citizenship that is attainable and clearly defined. Kicking them out of the country only makes matters worse for everyone and would be a deep black eye on our country’s ethics and morality. We are a country of immigrants and can’t stop now.”

John-Mark Hart, Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church, Oklahoma City; Dissertation Fellow, Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, Oklahoma City:
“My spiritual convictions compel me to welcome the stranger, and I believe America is at its best when we strive to be a land of opportunity for all people. For these reasons, I support comprehensive immigration reform, including pathways to citizenship for law-abiding residents who are currently living in the shadows. Our broken immigration system breaks families. If you support family values, then support comprehensive immigration reform.”

Wendy Kallergis, CEO, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association:
“The hospitality industry is well aware of how important the immigrant workforce is to our nation and we fully encourage President-elect Donald Trump to work closely with industry leaders and legislators to create immigration solutions that support families, our communities and the economic stability of our industry, and by result, our nation.”

Stan Marek, CEO, Marek Construction, Houston:
“Regardless of who won the election, an immigration solution for the 11 million plus undocumented in our country should be a priority. In actuality, no one is going to deport them and a simple system of a tamper-proof ID and a way to pay taxes just isn’t that hard to implement. If needed, leadership could dust off the Kennedy-McCain bill and try it again — but regardless of what they do, please do something!”

Kevin McBride, Senior Pastor, Raymond Baptist Church, Raymond, New Hampshire:
“Now that the election cycle is over, and before it starts again, it’s time to move beyond political grandstanding and achieve commonsense immigration reform for the benefit of all.”

John Pagel, President, Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative:
“The availability of immigrant workers remains a major and growing concern for the dairy community in this country. Hispanic workers especially are vital to the success of dairy farms. We are hopeful that our nation’s leaders will develop a streamlined process and a flexible guest worker program that would provide skilled employees for our farms and stability in our labor force. These workers deserve an opportunity to make a living, support their families and become productive members of our communities while playing a crucial role in creating a healthy dairy economy.”

Mark Prosser, Public Safety Director, Storm Lake, Iowa:
“Now that the elections are behind us it’s time for our elected officials to craft a realistic and functional reform to our immigration laws that ensures our safety and at the same time brings our neighbors and community members out the shadows in a doable process towards citizenship absent of the threat of deportation. Local law enforcement has been encouraged to create and build relationships in our communities. Help us do that by reforming our immigration laws and encouraging over 11 million people in our communities to engage in their communities by becoming viable and active citizens.”

Police Chief Mike Tupper, Marshalltown, Iowa:
“The votes have been counted and the campaigns have concluded. It is now time to get to work.  It is time to set partisan politics aside. It is time to solve problems. Americans want the immigration issue resolved. We need to unite behind our shared values as Americans to author a path that allows our great nation to reach its full potential. Regardless of party affiliation, Americans support a compassionate approach to immigration reform which will allow undocumented immigrants to earn legalized status. We need comprehensive immigration reform so that all people living in our communities can realize the American dream.”

Jeff Wasden, President, Colorado Business Roundtable:
“As we close the chapter on a divisive and disheartening presidential election, let us all begin to work together to solve some of our nation’s pressing issues in a spirit of collaboration and deep understanding of what is right and just for the human spirit, business and community interests. The time for a substantive overhaul of our broken immigration system should be in the first 100-day agenda of our next president. Community safety, a fair and equitable legal status, enforcing existing laws and fixing our broken visa system toward one based on needs: These ideas are not only doable but have strong bipartisan support. With principled leadership, we can begin to heal our national divide, and repairing our immigration system will go a long way toward moving our great nation forward.”

Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General:
“Many attorneys general, as our state’s chief legal officers, have called upon Congress to seriously address the need for immigration reform for many years. This will require everyone to come together in a civil and constructive dialogue to craft legislation that provides greater protection of our borders and reflects the best qualities of our diverse nation of immigrants.”