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  • Securing Illinois' Future: Peoria Voices for Immigration Reform

    With members of Congress home for the April recess, top Illinois faith, business and law enforcement leaders met Thursday, April 24 at the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce(100 SW Water St., Peoria) to discuss immigration and urge Congress to vote this year.

    The meeting identified the economic, moral and security imperatives for passing commonsense immigration reform this Congress. The meeting was sponsored by the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network (BBB), Bradley University, Caterpillar, Inc., FWD.us, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, and Illinois Farm Bureau.

    Panelists included: Pastor Adrian Garcia, First United Methodist Church; Fr. Tony Lee, Holy Trinity and Historic St. Patrick Parishes; Brad McMillan, Bradley University; Doug Baird, The Highlands and Baird Seed Company; and Mark Peters, Caterpillar.  

    Each panelist shared their perspective on the issue, citing the economic and moral impacts. 

    Mark Peters explained that the perception out there is that we can hire foreign born workers for less, but the reality is that the compensation is the same. 'There are legal parameters put in place to ensure we are doing that. The non-immigrant process is expensive. We pay all the costs associated with bringing them over. We need these foreign born workers.' 

    Doug Baird said foreign born workers are revitalizing communities. 'They are buying houses and fixing them up. The public needs to be educated on what is going on here.' 

    Pastor Garcia said, 'People come to this country for a better quality of life.' 

    Please click here to learn more about immigration reform. The panel encouraged everyone to contact their politician and speak with them about the need for immigration reform.