PDT Staff Writer
As Congress prepares to take up the Senate Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill proposal, an unprecedented coalition of Ohio faith and business leaders are gathering at the Ohio Statehouse to voice their support for an effective, long-term immigration system that respects the rule of law while also acknowledging immigrants’ human dignity and important role in our economy and our communities.
“We’re a group of faith leaders, people in law enforcement, and people in business, who are advocating for comprehensive immigration reform,” Carl Ruby, of the National Immigration Forum in Washington, told the Daily Times. “So we’re basically speaking out in favor of the bill that the Senate has introduced.”
A bipartisan group of senators formally filed legislation on April 17, 2013 calling for border security as the cornerstone of immigration reform. The bill drafted by the “Gang of Eight” stipulates that the security of “high risk border sectors along the Southern border” must be verified, before most undocumented immigrants can access pathways to legal residency laid out in the proposed legislation.
“It’s not a perfect bill from our perspective,” Ruby said. “But we think it’s a good starting point, and it addresses some of the problems that are a challenge for us in the state of Ohio. By comprehensive immigration reform, we know that the border needs to be secure; there needs to be a better way of processing people who are wanting to come into the country, so that we know who is here. But, at the same time, immigrant labor is very important to Ohio. It’s important to our agricultural industry. It’s important to our restaurant industry; our hotel and lodging industry, and that’s why businesses tend to be in favor of it. Our faith leaders tend to be in favor of it for moral and ethical reasons; commitment to family unity, and we’re just wanting to make sure that however we respond to the challenges, that we treat the people involved with dignity and with respect.”
Former Scioto County minister and now pastor of Crossroads Church in Circleville, Tim Throckmorton, told the Daily Times, “As a country we have a long history and tradition of immigration. We need to make sure we are not closing the door behind us. Making it legal, reasonable and acceptable.”
Scheduled to participate in the event were Jeff Cook, Associate Professor for Urban Studies, Cedarville University; Bill Dodd, Chairman of the U.S. Apple Association and Ohio apple grower; Katie Grayton, President of the G92 movement for immigration reform; Troy Jackson, Founder and President of Ohio Prophetic Voices; Rich Nathan, Pastor at The Vineyard of Columbus and Carol Nowland, CentralOhio Immigration Organizer, Ohio Prophetic Voices.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.