Charlotte, NC - Lobby/Press Event

Charlotte, North Carolina

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…