Conservative leaders urge Congress on immigration reform

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    Advocates rally in support of immigration reform.

    Demonstrators hold up their banners as they shout during a rally on the National Mall in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, calling on the House Republican leadership to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

    More than 600 conservative leaders from nearly 40 states across the country delivered on Tuesday a unified message to more than 100 members of Congress: The House of Representatives needs to move forward this year on broad immigration reform.

    Top conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders met Tuesday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce before fanning out to Hill offices, all part of “Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith and Security,” according the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Leaders are meeting with their lawmakers to send a clear message that they support immigration reform for the sake of our nation’s economy, security and moral integrity, and that passage of reform is urgent.

    “Immigration reform remains a top priority for the business community, and the Chamber and our partners will continue to do everything we can to make the case for reform this year,” said Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs.

    “Acting on immigration during the 113th Congress would be an enormous achievement for our country and our economy, and would show the public and the world that the United States can still get things done,” Josten added.

    John Feinblatt, chief policy advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy, said that throughout the week, hundreds of business owners, faith leaders and law enforcement officials will be “bringing their voices to Washington to tell Congress that we need to bring our broken immigration laws into the 21st Century.”

    “It’s time for members of both parties to tackle this issue and pass bipartisan immigration legislation that will strengthen our economy, create jobs, and keep America’s future bright,” Feinblatt continued. “Our country cannot afford to wait any longer for smart reform.”

    Tuesday’s effort comes just days after Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) announced he is cosponsoring an  immigration reform bill introduced by Democrats earlier this month, making him the first Republican to do so. At least 185 Democrats have signed on as cosponsors of the bill. Denham said Monday he expects more Republicans will soon join him in cosponsoring the bill.

    Tech leaders among those pushing for immigration reform

    Also participating in Tuesday’s effort to push for immigration reform was FWD.us, a political advocacy group founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other leaders of the nation’s technology community.

    Joe Green, president and founder of FWD.us, stated the group is “trilled to participate in the fly-in to help bring members of the tech community to DC from across the country.”

    “We believe it’s a great way to help demonstrate the robust support for meaningful immigration reform among a broad coalition of faith leaders, business owners, and law enforcement, among many others,” Green said. “We care deeply about the human element of fixing our broken immigration system so that we do right by our economy and American families; we want to help bring that message to DC as successful entrepreneurs, job creators, and community members.”

    Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, described Tuesday’s event as “historic.”

    “Over 600 of our nation’s conservative leaders left an unequivocal message in the House of Representatives – we need immigration reform that protects the rule of law, upholds our biblical values and grows the economy,” Noorani said.

    “In every corner of the Capitol, the energy these farmers, tech leaders, police chiefs and pastors brought to the Hill was palpable,” he continued. “They brought a new perspective to the debate, one informed by what they see every day in their local businesses, churches and police stations – a broken system that has a negative impact on local communities nationwide. Republicans in the House of Representatives heard a message of support and urgency from their constituents; the House has an opportunity to pass reform this year.”

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