Representatives from the religious, law enforcement and business communities — a group known as Bibles, Badges and Business Network for Immigration Reform — gathered together in Springfield on Monday night to discuss and learn about immigration reform.
“It’s not just an Arizona issue, it’s not a California issue,” said Carl Ruby, regional director for Bibles, Badges, and Business. “This is a local issue that affects people that live right here in this community.”
Speakers at the event included Carl Ruby, a former Cedarville University administrator, and Barbara Loach, a member of the Latino Coalition of Clark and Champaign Counties and a current Cedarville professor.
Ruby gave a breakdown of U.S. Senate Bill 744 — also known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act — and what it entails. The bill would essentially give illegal immigrants a 15-year path to becoming American citizens, Ruby explained, and put in place a better guest worker program, among other provisions.
Loach aimed to debunk some common misconceptions about immigrants and the workforce. She said many immigrants receive a pay check, so they have pay taxes and Social Security taken out of those checks. She also pointed out that because illegal immigrants don’t have a Social Security number, they cannot qualify for government assistance programs.
Other speakers at the program included a former police chief and two pastors, who shared reasons why they support immigration reform.
According to Ruby the point of the discussion was to make people aware that the issue of immigration isn’t only a nationwide issue, but a local one as well.
“We want people who live in Clark and Champaign counties to know that they are critical to this debate,” Ruby said.