Thursday, October 24, 2013

Easton City Council Endorses Immigration Reform

By Christina Georgiou

About 50 people attended a rally in support of immigration reform on
Easton's Centre Square last evening. The rally was hosted by
Organizing For Action—Lehigh Valley and sponsored by
National Council of La Raza and the Service Employees International Union.
Image from the Organizing for Action - Lehigh Valley Facebook page
Easton's city council passed a resolution Wednesday evening urging Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform, saying that changes to the law are necessary to keep families together, uphold the nation's democratic values, promote economic growth, and create a fair immigration system.

The resolution notes that the city "is a diverse community historically built on the social, cultural, economic and political contributions of immigrant communities over its more than 260 years" and "values the positive contributions of all residents, including immigrants."

It further states that "Growth in the City of Easton’s population and small businesses over recent decades has been significantly driven by immigrants, who bring new life and investment to our City’s neighborhoods and commercial corridors" and, "Above all, we believe in the human dignity of all Easton’s residents."

The move comes on the heels of a rally in Easton's Centre Square Tuesday evening that was hosted by Organizing For Action—Lehigh Valley and sponsored by National Council of La Raza and the Service Employees International Union. About 50 people attended the event, including Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Vice-mayor Ken Brown, and Councilman Jeff Warren.

All three praised the resolution, saying that immigration reform is sorely needed, and they hope Congress acts to create a pathway for undocumented residents to become legal U.S. citizens.

Panto praised Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA17) for supporting such changes and said he hopes Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA15) will reconsider his opposition to reforming immigration laws. He added that the matter should not be a partisan issue.

"All we're asking for is a legal pathway for people to become citizens," Panto said, noting that immigrants have contributed much to America, including important technology and pharmaceutical contributions.

"To be clear, we're not talking about illegal immigration. We're talking about law-abiding people who want to become citizens," he added.

"It was a pleasure to be in Centre Square yesterday with such passionate individuals," Warren said. "Nobody in America should ahv to hide in the shadows of despair. Just recognizing this and passing this speaks volumes."

"I truly believe that this is not a border issue, but a human issue," Brown said. "I had the opportunity to travel with my wife to her home country of Guatemala and see for myself. I'm proud to be part of this...and I believe our voices will be heard."

Copies of the resolution will be delivered to Senators Robert Casey and Pat Toomey, Congressman Matt Cartwright, State Representative Bob Freeman, and State Senators Lisa Boscola and Robert Mensch, as well as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.

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