Written by: Sister Marti McCarthy, SSS
June 1, 2013
Evening in Charlotte at St. Peter’s…We sisters shared
thoughts from the days before. We were also there to support a mother and her
three children who are at imminent risk of deportation. Hit from behind by a
car, she had no drivers’ license to produce when approached by the police. She
was taken by the police with her children left behind. She was later released
but now has her date for deportation. Her children are U.S. citizens. Protecting
families is a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform.
Continuing our time
in Charlotte, we met the next morning with members of the business community
and immigration reform supporters at the Fiesta Jalisco Restaurant. Hector Vaca
welcomed us and introduced a panel highlighting the economic impact that immigrants
have had and are having on Charlotte’s local economy
Jess George from the Latin American Coalition spoke
eloquently of the work of the coalition and the importance of the economic
issues in comprehensive immigration reform. She expanded on the moral, economic
and political imperatives for immigration reform.
Frank Llgras lifted up examples of
successful immigrant businesses and spoke of the projected impact from
comprehensive immigration reform on the national housing economy. The National
Association of Hispanic Realtors have estimated that if immigration reform is
passed, it would create a new pool of 3 million homeowners and pump more than
$500 billion in sales, income and spending into the U.S. economy. (www.inman.com/2013/05/20/nahrep-immigration-reform-would-boost-housing/
Cynthia Aziz, an immigration attorney, spoke of seasonal
workers who currently have to leave their families behind in order to work and
employers' need for yea- round workers. Immigration reform would meet both the
workers’ and their employers’ needs for a stable workforce.
Zhena Martinez is carrying on the work of her parents, who
created Las Delicias Bakery 16 years ago. Although initially the family did all
the work, the bakery now employs ten people who now pay taxes and, purchase
local goods, and some are buying houses.
Dan Rosell—co-founder of Packard Place, whose mandate is
innovation, entrepreneurship, and community—spoke of the American Dream as the
best marketing ever. People who are willing to work for a better life are drawn
to that dream.
Another awe-inspiring day on the bus…