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Local politics

If you go
What: Roundtable discussion on immigration legislation
When: 10:30 a.m. to noon today; public invited
Where: First Wayne Street United Methodist Church, 300 E. Wayne St.
Roundtable: Rev. Lloyd (Sam) Cunningham, St. Patrick Catholic Church; Angola Police Department Chief Stuart Hamblen; Rev. Joe Johns, Fellowship Missionary Church; Rev. Yohannes Mengsteab, Lutheran Foundation; farmer John Metzger; Barry Sharp, owner of S&S Steel Services Inc., Anderson
Sponsor : Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Network

Local forum on immigration bill set today

Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Network hopes Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, will read this story and others like it.

The group, part of the National Immigration Forum, will have an immigration reform roundtable discussion at 10:30 a.m. today at First Wayne Street United Methodist Church. Six people – three from churches, the Angola police chief, a farmer and the owner of a steel coil producer – will take part.

The discussion is among 46 similar forums scheduled across the country this month by Bibles, Badges and Business. The intent is to drum up support for sweeping immigration legislation among Republican members of the House while they are home during their August recess.

“Now that (Stutzman) is in the district, the aim is to show him there is support from conservative leaders in his district for immigration reform that is common sense, that is fair and that is compassionate,” Mario Moreno, a spokesman for the Washington-based advocacy group, said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

A few lawmakers have attended the discussions, Moreno said, while others have sent staff members. Stutzman’s office said it plans to have a staffer attend.

The Democratic Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill in June. Bibles, Badges and Business endorsed the legislation.

Moreno said his month’s events – there was a roundtable discussion Tuesday in Lafayette that tried to grab the attention of Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th – show that business, law enforcement and faith leaders agree an improved immigration system is needed.

Bibles, Badges and Business favors a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the U.S., tightly controlled worker visa programs, border security that targets smugglers and employer verification that immigrant workers are legal.

On his congressional website, Stutzman writes, “Genuine immigration reform must first include border security, then reform of a convoluted and contradictory immigration system.”

He also states, “I simply cannot support a welfare system for illegal immigrants.”