‘Immigration Reform Would Benefit All’ — Lutheran Community Services Northwest CEO Roberta Nestaas Writes at the Portland Tribune

Published On: Donate

Portland TribI hope you’ll join me today in checking out the Portland Tribune, which has published a wonderful op-ed supporting comprehensive immigration reform. It was written by Roberta Nestaas, President and CEO of Lutheran Community Services Northwest.

“Immigration Reform Would Benefit All” is the headline of the August 1 op-ed, in which she explains:

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. .

She further writes:

When I started working for LCS in Portland in 1990, I entered a world of passionate, dedicated staff who were once refugees and immigrants. They are proof that with a path to citizenship, our communities are enriched by their diversity of skills and devotion to serving others.

Those caseworkers, who work in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and McMinnville, can tell you that the human cost of failing to find solutions also is great. As one of them observed the other day, many of our clients are afraid that their families will be separated if one of their loved ones gets deported. Since we know that detention is being overused and deportation numbers have hit record highs recently, this fear is real — and the real consequences for people are harsh and far-reaching.

It’s these human stories that make it imperative for Congress to pass immigration reform. I urge the House leadership to unite and pass a bill that mirrors the strengths of S.744 because keeping all families together is crucial to our communities, and because reform is a smart deal for our economy and our country.

By clicking the link in the headline above, you can read the entire op-ed. Please show your support by leaving a positive comment, promoting the piece through Facebook and other social media, and sending the link to your friends, colleagues, and family. That’s how we’ll get the word out!

If you’re reading the news, you know how difficult it’s going to be to persuade the House of Representatives to pass fair and compassionate reform. That makes it all the more important that Americans hear the voices of people like Roberta Nestaas. I want to thank her not only for writing this piece, but also for the incredible work being accomplished by Lutheran Community Services Northwest. I’m also grateful to the Portland Tribune for publishing this op-ed.

Please give your own support to fair and humane immigration reform by contacting your U.S. representative through the LIRS Action Center. Also, please don’t forget to sign up to receive alerts from this blog, and check out our new Immigration  Reform Mythbuster. Thank you!

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