*Click here for a recording of this morning's event.*
CARY, N.C. — This morning, Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC-02) and North Carolina business and faith leaders identified immigration reform as a top priority this year.
“If I can do anything in Washington, I'd like to solve this problem,” Ellmers said during this morning’s panel discussion. The event, hosted by the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network (BBB), ImmigrationWorks USA, Centro Internacional de Raleigh and Cisco, brought together North Carolina leaders who urged Congress to move immigration reform this year and supported the congresswoman’s engagement on reform.
The following are quotes from North Carolina leaders at today’s event:
Father Carlos Arce, Vicar for Hispanics, Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh:
“The immigration challenge is not just about the economy. It’s a moral issue first. We are talking about people, real people. We must ensure all workers are treated with dignity and respect.”
Vanessa Beltre, Caterpillar Inc.
“Eighty-five percent of our research and investment is here in America. Our concern is, if we don’t have the talent and access to global talent, it will force us to go elsewhere. We are an American company and consider America home. We hope we can stay here.”
Dub Karriker, Senior Pastor, Christian Assembly Church, Durham:
“I’m participating today because the evangelical Christian community has recognized the need for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform. This affects our churches and especially the families that are torn apart by our current policies. We have a biblical mandate to welcome the immigrant, to do them no wrong, to treat them as we would like to be treated and to love them. Now is the time to speak up, pray, and fix these broken policies that harm individuals and families.”
Lisa Martin, Director of Government Affairs, North Carolina Home Builders Association:
“Residential construction relies heavily on immigrant workers. We need an effective and reliable immigration system that will provide a trained workforce for our builders. The economy depends on it.”
Brooks Raiford, President & CEO, North Carolina Technology Association:
“The North Carolina Technology Association, the state’s tech industry group, was pleased to help host today’s immigration reform forum with U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers. We support her efforts to bridge the divide in the policy debate on how to best achieve meaningful comprehensive reform within a clear legal framework. The tech sector is among a number of industries that depend on a mix of native and foreign born workers to be successful and to meet the talent demands we face. Surely we can come to agreement on a path forward that effectively addresses the elements of the debate: border enforcement; family unification; workforce demands; and more.”
Faylene Whitaker, Co-Owner, Whitaker Farms and Garden Center:
“We just can’t find local workers. We need to keep our country’s food supply self-sufficient. We can’t depend on other countries or we’ll be starving. Every aspect of farming in North Carolina depends on foreign workers.”
Larry Wooten, President, North Carolina Farm Bureau:
“We compliment Rep. Ellmers for engaging in this dialogue on this important issue, but it is time for Congress to act. We’ve engaged in discussion for years, and Congress must act now. We’ve had fly-ins; we’ve even had cry-ins. The immigration system is a federal issue, just like the budget and the military. It’s time for Congress to fix the issue.”
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