On February 19, ImmigrationWorks USA cosponsored a forum in Raleigh with Rep. Renee Ellmers and a dozen of her North Carolina constituents, who described how immigration reform would affect them and their communities. The event was cosponsored by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the North Carolina Farm Bureau, the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, the North Carolina Technology Association, the Evangelical Immigration Table, Centro Internacional de Raleigh and the Bibles, Badges and Business coalition. Participants included a diverse group of faith leaders and employers who hire immigrants, high-skilled and low-skilled – spokesmen for Cisco, Caterpillar, Golden Corral, the NC Episcopal Diocese and a local Catholic diocese, among others.

Tamar Jacoby president, ImmigrationWorks USA

“Immigration is changing communities all across America. We’re here today to look at how it’s changing North Carolina.”



Rep. Renee Ellmers member of Congress

“It hasn’t just been the Obama administration that has not adhered to the immigration laws on the books – it was the Bush administration, it was the Clinton administration and it was the Reagan administration. You have to ask yourself: are those laws simply unenforceable? And if that’s the case, let’s fix them.”



Scott Schaberg director of community relations, Golden Corral

“We are in 40 states across the country. We have 36,000 employees, and we do rely on unskilled labor. There are not a lot of folks in this country who are willing to do the jobs that need to be done – in the dish room, in the utilities room, in the bakery and elsewhere.”


Vanessa Beltre  Clayton NC human resources manager, Caterpillar

“At Caterpillar, 85 percent of our research and development takes place in the United States. If we keep those R&D jobs here, it will create more jobs for Americans. Our concern is if we don’t have the talent in the U.S. to help us with R&D, we may have to go elsewhere.”


Kurt Bland president and CEO, Bland Landscaping Company

“We’ve been running classified ads for a month. We’ve had 19 inquiries. Three people accepted offers to work. Only one person came to work. I need an additional 45 workers between now and three weeks from now. I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t fill those jobs.”

Larry Wooten president, North Carolina Farm Bureau

“North Carolina farmers want to hire legal workers, but the existing guest worker program doesn’t provide enough workers to get the job done. This year, we had a shortage of agricultural workers to pick the apple crop in western North Carolina.”


Bishop Michael Curry Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

“In the 35 years since my ordination, I have never seen such an interfaith consensus around the need for immigration reform. The scriptures of our and other traditions are consistent about the value and importance of caring for the stranger.”


Click HERE to listen to a recording of the event.