N&O: “Our uniquely American strength lies in our ability to attract immigrants who answer the needs of the nation” ow.ly/jTFLC
— welcometheimmigrant (@NCRCJI) April 9, 2013
With the introduction of the landmark immigration legislation by the Senate, the immigration debate continues to heat up. And North Carolina is paying attention. From faith leaders to business leaders to the state’s leading newspapers, we are seeing very strong support for the bill. Now is the time for our elected officials to step up and help make humane immigration reform a reality. Below is a summary of recent perspectives on the bill.
From the Public Religion Research Institute:
Majorities of all religious groups, including Hispanic Catholics (74%), Hispanic Protestants (71%), black Protestants (70%), Jewish Americans (67%), Mormons (63%), white Catholics (62%), white mainline Protestants (61%), and white evangelical Protestants (56%) agree that the immigration system should allow immigrants currently living in the U.S. illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements.
From the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
A large majority of Catholics support immigration reform legislation that provides a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, according to a recent survey sponsored by the Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Overall, 77 percent of Catholic voters support a proposal that allows earned citizenship through meeting requirements like registration, paying a fine, paying taxes and taking English classes, the survey shows.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, embraced the results of the survey. “It is clear that Catholics understand the importance of this issue,” Archbishop Gomez said. “As an immigrant church, Catholics from all walks of life understand the migration experience and accept the Gospel’s call to welcome the stranger.”
From the highly respected Elon Poll:
As lawmakers in Washington move closer to introducing immigration reform legislation, more than half of respondents (53 percent) felt that immigrants to North Carolina are a benefit because of their hard work and job skills, while 36 percent said they believed immigrants were burdens because they use public services.
Four out of five respondents, however, would support a program that provided undocumented immigrants living in the United States with a full path to becoming citizens if they meet certain requirements such as a background check and paying any fines and taxes.
Most North Carolinians (73 percent) said they do not have friends or relatives who are recent immigrants.
From the Greensboro News & Record:
The debate will take up many weeks and intensify when the House produces its own proposals. But the time to break the long impasse has arrived. Republicans learned in last year’s election that failing to act is a losing ticket politically. President Obama also was faulted for breaking a 2008 campaign promise to achieve immigration reform in his first term. Both parties must get moving.
The United States should live up to its heritage as a nation that opens its doors to immigrants — and is richer for it.
Yet, open doors aren’t the same as open borders. Immigration reform requires border control, accountability and a fair pathway to citizenship.
From the Charlotte Observer:
Armando Bellmas, spokesman for the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte, told the editorial board Wednesday that among the groups of undocumented immigrants his organization helps, most would jump at the chance to gain citizenship and lose the fear of deportation. Bellmas was especially encouraged by a provision that would allow some immigrants who were previously deported to rejoin their spouses and children here.
Such progress could be lost in the upcoming debate on the legislation. The danger of a bill so complex and dependent on compromise is that tugging at one string could unravel the whole thing, and already the Washington Post is reporting that Republicans are plotting to introduce “poison pill” amendments that would break apart the fragile bipartisan group that crafted the plan.
We hope the Senate – and eventually the U.S. House – will remember that what brought that group together was a recognition that something had to be done. Sabotaging the bill would leave us where we started, with a broken immigration system that hurts many and helps few.
From the Raleigh News & Observer:
It was an issue of which politicians at all levels seemed afraid to speak. Neither Democrats nor Republicans in Congress wanted to wade into immigration reform for decades, so immense was the issue’s complexity. Now, at last, senators in a bipartisan group have gotten their feet wet.
Congress, in failing to wrestle with the fine points of immigration reform in a way that recognizes the reality of the situation in 2013, has in effect passed the responsibility to the states. Some have tried to cope with the number of illegal immigrants through apprehension and deportation, creating a patchwork of law enforcement that sometimes treats illegal immigrant families harshly.
Of course illegal immigrants who want to stay in the United States must be law-abiding. Of course those who are not, who have committed serious crimes, should be punished and deported. Of course the path to lawful status should not be strewn with rose petals. But there ought to be one.
This nation of immigrants can and must face the need for reform and act upon it. At least eight senators have done something toward that end.
From the Durham Herald-Sun:
“I think there is some reason for optimism after a very long time, 17 years, it turns out to be the time to produce some level of meaningful reform,” William Reinsch said Thursday. Reinsch is president of the National Foreign Trade Council.
Jeremy Robbins, director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, moderated the panel that included Hedrick. He said immigration is a “huge economic driver for this country.”
Nicole Hedrick, director of global immigration for IBM Corp., also asked: “Why educate them and send them back to compete against (us)?”
“From the country’s perspective, we have a lot of checks and balances to make sure we’ve got the right folks here, but when you have highly motivated folks that are highly skilled that could be contributing members of our economy, contributing members of are communities, these are folks that are plugged in…” she said.
-Chris Liu-Beers, Program Associate