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ICYMI: Across the Country, Opinion Leaders Continue to Pressure House to Act on Immigration Reform

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With Members of Congress home for recess, the growing grassroots movement behind citizenship for undocumented Americans is taking action and already producing results.  As the New York Times editorialized on Sunday, “an amazing array of determined advocates from all corners of the country has plunged into a month of protests, rallies, vigils, town-hall meetings, phone-calling and canvassing, focusing on Republicans in their home districts.  Their message is that comprehensive immigration reform deserves a vote in the House, and that any legislation must allow unauthorized immigrants to seek full equality as Americans.”

In addition to these events, an array of state and local editorial pages and op-ed signers have gotten into the act, calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Members in South Dakota, California, Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Maine, to exercise leadership and support reform.  Below is an array of some of the best recent editorials and op-eds that have greeted Members back home:

  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Editorial): Paul Ryan is Right on Immigration Policy: “Paul Ryan has been an advocate for repairing the country’s broken immigration system for years.  Long before he joined Congress, he worked with mentor Jack Kemp to promote a sensible, compassionate policy.  Now, the Republican congressman from Janesville has a chance to lead a reform bill through a sharply divided House of Representatives. We hope he can do so… Votes on the bills could come in October, Ryan said.  If those votes actually happen — and they should — and if Ryan can bring along enough Republicans, he may be able to broker a deal. That’s our hope. This nation needs a comprehensive solution that helps employers and immigrant families who have been waiting for years for a compassionate, sensible policy.  Ryan is right on the policy. Let’s hope he’s also right about the politics.”
  • Argus Leader (SD – Editorial): Find Solution to Immigration Reform: “The dairy industry in eastern South Dakota has flourished in part because dairies attract immigrant workers.  Other industries and factories have grown, too.  Estimates show that if immigrant labor is eliminated in South Dakota, the state would see a short-term loss of production of $8.3 million to $15 million.  We hope our congressional delegation can support immigration reform for the sake of the economy and that Republicans, in particular, will be able to decide when secure is secure enough. It’s a 3-D problem that’s not just border security and can’t be dismissed as only something for other states to worry about.  In farm states, immigration is big, and those in Congress need to find a plan that will continue to provide security yet offer opportunities for those laborers and the farmers who employ them.  Attempting to find paths to citizenship for immigrant workers will help those families, farmers and agriculture production. For South Dakota, that is a bottom-line issue that flows through to help our vibrant economy continue to thrive.”
  • The Desert Sun (CA – Editorial): Reform Can Strengthen the Agricultural Industry: “A week before Congress took off for its five-week summer break on Friday, the White House made an appeal that immigration reform and guest agricultural worker programs could boost the gross domestic product by $2 billion in 2014…Last week, 14 Republican donors and groups sent a letter to California’s 15 GOP members of Congress urging them to support reform.  ‘Doing nothing is de facto amnesty,’ the letter says.  The status quo is unacceptable, especially for our agriculture industry.  We hope House Republicans will see that, and not just because a lack of action would be a political liability.  Don’t pass up this chance to make history.”
  • Toledo Blade (OH – Editorial): Immigration and the Economy: “The stereotypical view of many who oppose immigration reform is that those who cross the border without papers are simply seeking government handouts.  In fact, the vast majority come to work.  So it is entirely logical that bringing 11 million people out of the shadow economy and into the legitimate one can only benefit the nation. If the Senate bill becomes law, the report predicts that the U.S. economy will be 5.4 percent larger by 2033 than under the status quo…The bill’s supporters have addressed the critics’ objections, beefing up security on the southern border, sending illegal immigrants to the back of the line for legal status, fining them, and making them wait years for a green card.  Immigration reform makes dollars and sense. Will the House still do nothing when it returns?”
  • Denver Post (CO – Op-Ed): Hope for Immigration Fix by Gil Cisneros and Wayne Trujillo of the Chamber of the Americas: “It’s apparent that legislative inactivity and status quo stasis does not advance the interests of either opponents or advocates of immigration reform.  To the contrary, the ITEP study reported that immigration reform would boost local and state tax receipts by $2 billion nationally.  In Colorado, the ITEP study estimated that immigrants in this country without legal documentation contributed $152.2 million to state and local taxes in 2010.  The organization projects immigration reform would add nearly $43 million to Colorado’s state and local tax coffers with a projected total of legalized immigrant contributions of $195 million a year.”
  • Las Cruces Sun-News (NM – Op-Ed): Immigration Fix a Priority for New Mexico by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM): “New Mexico’s remarkable spirit is rooted in our diversity, our history, and our culture, which has always been enriched by our immigrant communities and family members.  At the same time, the laws that govern our country’s immigration system are antiquated and ineffective.  Fixing our broken immigration system is an urgent priority — especially for our state…New Mexicans are eager for a solution, DREAM Act students deserve a solution, and our economy requires a solution.  We must achieve accountable immigration reform that works for New Mexico and the country, and we call on the House Republicans to pass the Senate bipartisan proposal.  Este es el año.”
  • Portland Tribune (OR – Op-Ed): Immigration Reform Would Benefit All By Robert Nestaas, President and CEO of Lutheran Community Services Northwest in Seattle, an organization in Washington, Oregon and Idaho: “I’m looking forward to the U.S. House of Representatives passing a fair, bipartisan and urgently needed immigration reform bill this summer.  There were moments when I despaired of the Senate accomplishing something similar, but in June, they did.  Before that vote, I remember thinking support for immigration reform would come primarily from urban centers that tend to represent the liberal vote.  That was before I talked to apple growers in Eastern Washington and vineyard owners in Oregon’s wine country.  After that, the Senate vote to pass the bill, S.744, made a lot of sense.  As it turns out, this is as much an economic issue as it is one of human rights. That was clear from talking to these small business owners, whose pragmatic interest in reform dovetails with the needs of the people I serve as chief executive officer of Lutheran Community Services Northwest.  From where I sit, for example, it’s clear how much reform with a roadmap to citizenship is essential for many hard-working families. Their immigration status leaves them living in uncertainty and constant fear. Citizenship would give them the security to invest in homes, education and their children’s future. Complementing that concern, the businesspeople I spoke with can see how the roadmap to citizenship is needed to achieve a prosperous economy with a stable and educated work force and consumer base.”
  • Portland Press Herald (ME – Op-Ed): Immigration Reform, a Boon for All, Should be Embraced, Not Feared by Tom Gawarkiewicz of the Maine Center for Economic Policy: “Comprehensive immigration reform would also provide a much needed boost to Maine’s economy, which is still stagnant five years after the end of the Great Recession.  Passing it would grow the state economy by $98 million and add roughly 1,486 new jobs in 2014.  Immigration does not steal prosperity away from America; it brings it.  Productive and innovative immigrant workers and entrepreneurs help everyone in the U.S. To remain the world’s largest, most vibrant economy, the U.S. must attract eager workers and critical thinkers.  Immigration has long been a cornerstone of America’s strength; with thoughtful reform, it can continue to be just that.”
  • The Californian (CA – Op-Ed): Ag Needs Immigration Laws Reformed by Jim Bogart, President and Chief Counsel of the Grower Shipper Association of Central California: “The time has come for comprehensive and meaningful reform of our nation’s immigration laws. In fact, it is long overdue.  The current law is a mess. It is outdated, unworkable and broken beyond repair. Most notably, it is devastating to agriculture.  Our farmers face a critical shortage of legally authorized and experienced workers, which negatively impacts our economic competitiveness, local economics and jobs.  Every farm worker engaged in high-value, labor-intensive crop production sustains two to three off-farm but farm dependent jobs.  We cannot continue allowing foreign producers to take advantage of our labor crisis… Let’s get this done now.  The time for political posturing, ideological demagoguery and emotional ranting is over.”