National Leaders Reinforce Immigration Reform’s Urgency as Debate Heats Up

May 9, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee commences the markup process for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. With more than 300 amendments filed this week, immigration reform is clearly front and center for Congress.

National leaders in the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform  network have been working to secure an immigration reform bill that preserves the nation’s economic future, security and respect for human rights. Today’s markup session is an important step forward as the Senate debates its broad, bipartisan bill. The following are quotes from nationwide Bibles, Badges and Business network leaders:

Lane Beattie, President and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber:

“For years, Utah’s business community has been asking Congress to fix our broken immigration system. We are gratified that our political leaders are finally addressing immigration reform in a comprehensive way that will help to grow our national economy. We look forward to supporting congressional leaders who stand up to solve this complex problem.”

Mark Curran, Sheriff, Lake County, Illinois:

“I support Senate Bill 744, comprehensive immigration reform, and hope for its passage.  We will not address the imperative issues of national security, border security and how to best utilize law enforcement resources in an era of shrinking budgets until we address what to do with the approximately 12 million undocumented people presently in this country. Congress must resolve these imperative issues by coming to the table to seek a moral resolution regarding the undocumented population, and it must pass the bill.”

James Hawkins, Chief of Police, Garden City, Kansas:

“Local law enforcement needs the trust and confidence of its community members, and practical immigration reform will help us focus on identifying the true criminals who threaten public safety. It also will help instill in law-abiding, hardworking immigrants the value of reporting crimes without fear of deportation. That is the essence of community policing.”

Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum:

“It’s great to see the legislation moving. This is concrete progress. As senators consider the wide range of amendments, the spirit of compromise and cooperation that has brought us this far must be their guiding light. Congress must continue a rational debate in the same bipartisan fashion that has given reform so much momentum. Voters and aspiring Americans alike are ready for a new immigration process that will allow our country to realize its full potential.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:

“Evangelical leaders stand committed to a commonsense and humane immigration reform bill that respects the rule of law and honors human dignity. We remain hopeful that we move beyond partisanship to real solutions this year.”

Angela Smith Jones, Director, Public Policy, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce:

“Comprehensive immigration reform is critical and necessary for the continued success of business in our country.  Immigrants contribute greatly to the workforce as loyal and valued employees, and as entrepreneurs and innovators. We must bring our immigration laws in line with our current needs, and we must include a fair and reasonable pathway to citizenship.”

The Most Reverend Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento, California, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Americans now understand that the immigration system is broken.  It harms hard-working immigrant families.  It cripples the American economy.  It divides our communities.  We need a reform bill that works.  The reform bill must unite families, allow workers to fully participate in society, and promote active citizenship.  If the reform legislation fails to do this for most immigrants if will deny this nation the opportunity to be true to our best aspirations and hopes.

Larry Wooten, President, North Carolina Farm Bureau:

“U.S. Senate Bill 744 is certainly welcome progress toward a solution to the labor shortage that has plagued the nation’s farming industry for decades. We support the efforts of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on what is a crucial issue for North Carolina’s 52,000 farms. At the end of the day, we absolutely must have a solid bipartisan agreement. Farmers appreciate the willingness of all sides to work together on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.”