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Immigration Reform: A 2014 Priority for Main Street

As Congress Debates the Path Forward, Local Leaders Urge Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, House Speaker John Boehner acknowledged that moving immigration reform forward this year will be difficult — while also forcefully stating the need to get reform done.

While House lawmakers and leadership continue the necessary work of debating the urgency of immigration reform this year, our nation’s Bibles, Badges and Business leaders are unequivocal: Momentum for reform is very much alive, and this is the year to pass it.

As members of the D.C. chattering class talk past one another, local conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders across the country are underscoring the deep and growing support for commonsense immigration reform and urging Republicans to move forward.

“Right now, our nation's leaders have a rare window of opportunity in which to pass a reform that is good for all Americans,” Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in the Christian Post. “I encourage our legislators to continue moving forward on the House Republican standards released last week and seize this moment to create an immigration system that works. We cannot keep putting off this issue that is so important to our churches, communities and economy.”

Above and beyond news reports, influential local opinion leaders are filling their local media with their strong support for reform in 2014.

Dr. Joe Stowell, President of Cornerstone University and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and former President of Moody Bible Institute, wrote in the Grand Rapids Press, “Commonsense immigration reform is an opportunity to strengthen the nation’s economy, to improve national security and to restore public confidence in government. It’s not only good for the nation; it’s good for western Michigan. But for me it’s more than that. It’s an opportunity be a good neighbor, to honor the gospel and to live up to some of the highest virtues of my Christian faith: grace, forgiveness and hospitality.”

And in the Pacific Northwest, Mark Kadel, Director of World Relief-Spokane, wrote in the Spokesman-Review, “The support across political, geographic and vocational lines is unprecedented. Leaders on both sides of the aisle are willing to rise above partisan politics and take action. It’s clear that House leaders know they can’t wait for a solution, and as evangelical leaders we want Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and her colleagues in Congress to know they have our support.”

Faith leaders are not alone in their strong support. Law enforcement leaders are emphasizing that immigration reform will help them keep their communities safe and help all of us honor the rule of law.

“Progress toward immigration reform in the past year has been amazing, but we do not honor our past or enable our future if we don’t finish the job,” Grant Woods, Republican Former Attorney General of Arizona, wrote in the Arizona Republic. “Let us restore our faith in the rule of law, forge a more prosperous future for our country and honor our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Arizona and America deserve nothing less.”

Not least, business owners are stressing the economic imperatives for reform. Mary Ann Miller, President and CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce, wrote in Arizona’s East Valley Tribune, “In Tempe, we value the economic vitality of our businesses, from high-tech to startups and from food service to construction. We need Congress to implement a system that will benefit all of them.

“Modernizing the immigration laws so that future immigration of workers and families is lawful, just and orderly is urgent,” Miller adds. “Because the United States will continue to draw motivated people with brilliant minds, we need to create a way for entrepreneurs to boost our economy by starting companies and creating more jobs.”

“Now, more than ever, Americans of all persuasions want immigration reform,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “The pundits may want to bury immigration reform, but conservative leaders at the local level are the backbone of support urging House Republicans to move forward.”

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