Local Illinois Leaders Push for Action on Immigration Reform

August 8, 2013

At Roundtable, Faith, Law Enforcement and Business Leaders Stress Urgency

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — With members of Congress back in their districts for the August recess, Central Illinois leaders came together Wednesday to voice their support for commonsense reform.

During a roundtable at the McLean Country Chamber of Commerce, co-hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Great Lakes Region of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) and the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Network, local leaders in the faith and business communities added their voices to the nationwide call for just immigration reform that acknowledges the dignity of each person, respects the rule of law and addresses the needs of the American economy.

At the roundtable, these leaders emphasized why Illinois businesses and communities urgently need commonsense immigration reform. They let the Illinois House delegation know that they have the broad local support they need to move forward with comprehensive reform.

The following are quotes from Illinois business and faith leaders at today’s event:

Pat Bane, Pork Producer, McLean County Farm Bureau:

“In order to run my business, I need people who will stick around and do the work. I would like to see a solution. We need more flexibility, particularly in agriculture. If we don’t have people to do the work, we won’t exist. If we can’t import the labor, we will have to import the food.”

Father Anthony Lee, Reverend Father, Holy Trinity Catholic Church:

“It is a question of human dignity. We can look at numbers and statistics, but we can forget that these people we’re talking about have families.”

Mark Peters, Corporate Counsel, Caterpillar Inc.:

“The reality is immigration reform will benefit large Midwest manufacturing companies such as Caterpillar. Our future is dependent upon immigration reform. There is a gigantic gap in labor force and a shortage of STEM workers. The current system puts companies like us at a disadvantage. How can we level the playing field so companies like Caterpillar can continue to compete in a global market? The bottom line is, Caterpillar supports commonsense reform.”

Ben Taylor, Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Great Lakes Region:

“The immigration system is broken … The best deterrent for illegal immigration in the future is a workable guest worker program now. Enforcement first does not address the needs that our members have. We are living in a de facto amnesty right now. We can choose to ignore the 11 million people that are already here and already working and part of our economy, or we can choose to face the problem and find a workable solution.”

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For more information on IBIC, visit illinoisbic.biz; for more information on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, visit www.uschamber.com; for more information on the McLean County Chamber of Commerce visit www.mcleancochamber.org; for more information IFB visit www.ilfb.org; and to more learn about BBB visit www.bbbimmigration.org. Bibles, Badges and Business is a project of the National Immigration Forum and the National Immigration Forum Action Fund.