Business and Faith Leaders Echo Push for a #VoteOnReform
SAN ANTONIO - House Speaker John Boehner sat down with The Texas Tribune this afternoon for a wide-ranging discussion on the need for immigration reform and other critical issues facing the 113th Congress.
"I feel strongly about the need to deal with immigration reform," Boehner said. "I do believe that the vast majority of the members of our party want to address it."
The focus on immigration, and support for action from Texas business and faith leaders who were present, point to a definitive summer for immigration reform. Attendees underlined the economic and moral imperatives of immigration reform for the Lone Star State.
"Here in Texas, businesses are in pretty clear agreement that the system is broken and it needs fixing," said Eddie Aldrete, Senior Vice President at IBC Bank in San Antonio and Board Member at the National Immigration Forum. "There's this groundswell of support among the business community here, and Speaker Boehner's comments today will energize us to work even harder to get a vote this summer."
"It is critical that Congress act over the summer to pass comprehensive immigration reform," said Bill Hammond, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Business. "Texas businesses struggle to find qualified workers for certain jobs ranging from the service sector to the STEM fields. Many of those shortages can be addressed simply by passing comprehensive immigration reform that would give businesses the tools to expand their search for qualified people."
"As Speaker Boehner noted, this is not about elections. The right thing to do on immigration reform is to fix what is broken," said Tim Moore, Senior Pastor of Walk Worthy Baptist Church, Austin. "It's time to take the majority of Republicans, add a few Democrats, and vote on immigration reform. Do it in big chunks and do it now."
"We sensed that Speaker Boehner was really speaking from the heart on his desire to get immigration reform passed in 'chunks,'" said David Galvan, Senior Pastor of New Life Baptist Church, Dallas. "As long as a vote is taken and something is done to move us forward, I think this was a very positive discussion."
"One of the things we heard from Speaker Boehner is that the immigration system is broken," said Pastor Marivel Reyes, Lead Pastor of El Shaddai Pentecostal Church in Austin. "Now is the time to get something done. This isn't about politics, it's about justice. This is a community that is contributing to the economy and starting businesses. There is great potential there if we get a vote on reform.
"This is the big issue we have in the United States, and Speaker Boehner was fantastic in mentioning his willingness to pass immigration reform," said Ademir Simoes, Pastor of Bible Baptist Church of Pflugerville. "With reform, we can secure our borders, restore respect for the rule of law, strengthen families and reap the benefits of the full contributions of millions of immigrants."
"To highlight the need for immigration reform, Speaker Boehner chose Texas for a reason," said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. "Texas businesses innovate and create jobs, but they need labor. Pastors here bring together thousands in prayer and feel a strong call to welcome the stranger in our midst. Conservative leaders in Texas have an intuitive sense of why America sorely needs immigration reform, and they'll continue to make that clear until Congress votes."
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