Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

October 25, 2013

Immigration reform 'is an American issue'

Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Immigration reform is a topic many believe Congress should be addressing sooner rather than later.

“To me, reform means fixing the broken immigration system,” reported Angela Adams, an attorney with Lewis & Kappes, Indianapolis, who is also the firm’s Immigration Group director. “It means creating a workable system for employers to get the labor they need and a way for families to be able to be together without prolonged backlogs and delays.

“So many times people have no options. They’re stuck in a broken immigration system for years .... Good immigration reform is based on the laws of supply and demand, factoring into that faith, human dignity and the need to keep our families strong as the foundation of the community,” points out the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Midwest regional coordinator.

“The BBB is a national immigration forum that was started in February. It’s a network of faith, law enforcement and business officials who collaborate with various organizations,” including the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Member Mark Stenger, Batesville, said that in the immigration debate, “extreme positions have dominated .... One side is for deporting them all, and one is for amnesty, but moderates and conservatives want immigration reform, too. There’s a lot of people in between, and this organization is bringing those voices together .... It’s a grass-roots organization.”

On Oct. 15, Adams, Stenger, Mayor Rick Fledderman and others met with two representatives from 6th District U.S. Rep. Luke Messer’s office. Stenger announced, “Messer is a freshman representative, and he really hasn’t developed his opinion on immigration reform. This was a listening tour through his reps.”

Later that day, Adams met with a group in Batesville to discuss various topics, including rights and options for obtaining legal status.

Immigration reform “isn’t an Hispanic issue. It is an American issue, one we all have to deal with and find commonsense solutions to.”

Why is this important to her? “I think we all have to share our thoughts on the issues that impact us, our economy and our families. As an immigration attorney, I am keenly aware of so many people who are here who may not have any path, but may deserve or be worthy of some legalization.

“As a Hoosier and immigration attorney, I think we have to bring our laws current and in line with changing times. They’re antiquated and not reflective of the current circumstances.”

In addition, “It’s important for people to try to understand the issue before forming opinions and then make sure you communicate those opinions to Congress.”

Stenger agreed, “Talk to your neighbors and friends and tell your Congressman how you feel .... This is the time we need to have a dialogue to create this path forward into the future.”

There is lots of information out there regarding immigration reform. However, Adams recommends several credible Web sites, including www.immigrationforum.org, www.uschamber.com, www.ready4reform.org and www.usccb.org.

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.