Following former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Sunday speech at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas, local Florida faith and business leaders spoke out in support of his comments on immigration and urged Congress to vote on reform.
“It’s easy to solve the immigration issue with a soundbite, standing on the safe side of our fence,” said Bob Landham, Executive Pastor of Deermeadows Baptist Church in Jacksonville. “Having served with ministries along the border for 10 years, I know as a father, husband, brother, son, I’d do whatever it would take to protect and provide for my family. No fence is long enough or high enough or strong enough to keep a dad who loves his kids from trying to provide a better life for those he loves. I don’t have the answer, but until there is substantive immigration reform, neither does anyone else.”
“Our broken immigration system is undermining Florida’s economy and hurting Florida’s farmers. Every day we’re losing opportunities as a result,” said Rick Hanas, Senior Vice President and CAO of A. Duda & Sons in Oviedo. “Governor Bush is right that many immigrants come here to provide for their families — and we all benefit when we work together. We look forward to the stability of a new immigration process that restores respect for the rule of law and honors freedom, hard work and family unity. We need a vote on immigration reform this year.”
“Governor Bush is right — it is a motivation of love that drives many to overstay a visa or enter the country unlawfully. That doesn’t mean we should ignore or forgive the violation of law, but it is important to recognize that many of those who have violated the law are doing so out of desperation and a desire to provide for their families, which is a noble desire very consistent with our Christian faith,” said Darren Sullivan, Pastor of Church Multiplication at Chet’s Creek Church in Jacksonville. “As churches seek to serve the immigrants in our community, including some without legal status, we’ve come to better understand how dysfunctional our immigration system is and how impossible it is for many to immigrate lawfully, as they would prefer to do.”
“I’m for true immigration reform with accountability, not amnesty. If we can put aside the political rhetoric, and do as Jesus did and put ourselves in the shoes of the stranger, I believe we can find true commonsense reform as a nation,” said Garry Swearingen, the Associate Minister over Involvement and Evangelism at San Jose Church of Christ in Jacksonville. “Our immigrant ancestors made a huge sacrifice to come to America to have an opportunity to live in a free society, make a living, and worship with their families and friends without harm. It is not surprising that that desire remains true for others today.”
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