June 28, 2013 — RALEIGH,NC
With the U.S. Senate’s passage of S.744 – comprehensive immigration reform – yesterday was a historic day for all North Carolinians. Immigrants are an integral part of the fabric of our communities, our economy, and our state. Passage of this bill at long last moves us toward modernizing our antiquated immigration laws. We all benefit from immigration laws that uphold our values, create welcoming communities, support our families and small businesses, and reduce illegal immigration.
While this bill clearly moves us forward, we are deeply concerned about the late compromise amendment that added billions of dollars of excessive and ineffective spending on the southern border, which already is more secure than it has ever been. Immigrant families and border communities will be paying a steep price for years to come because of this political compromise. However, those concerns do not overshadow our joy for a sensible path forward for our communities. Under this legislation, there would be at last a clear and attainable process to residency and eventual citizenship for aspiring Americans. And we are especially pleased that our state’s thousands of Dreamers and farmworkers would be able to attain citizenship within five years.
We are deeply grateful to Senator Hagan for her support of comprehensive immigration reform. Her vote was entirely consistent with public opinion here in NC in support of immigration reform. Recently, Harper Polling/Public Policy Polling conducted a statewide poll sponsored by the Alliance for Citizenship, Partnership for a New American Economy, and Republicans for Immigration Reform that showed that 76% of North Carolinians support the Senate bill.
We are deeply disappointed in Senator Burr. His vote against S.774 will go down on the wrong side of history. The Senator’s rejection of this commonsense bipartisan compromise bill is a slap in the face to the nearly one million Latinos who call North Carolina home. It’s a vote in favor of separating families, keeping workers in the shadows, denying dreams to hardworking students, and upholding a broken status quo.
Now all eyes will shift to the House. We look forward to working with our state’s Representatives to pass a productive House immigration bill later this summer, one that will reflect our North Carolina values of community, humanity, decency, and hard work and that will move us forward as a state and country.
Rev. George Reed, Executive Director
Chris Liu-Beers, Program Associate
North Carolina Council of Churches
27 Horne St.
Raleigh, NC 27607