A diverse group of leaders and residents of the Greater Knoxville area have come together to call on Congress for federal immigration reform. Reform at the federal level has the potential to positively impact families, schools, businesses, workers, the economy, and civic life. We join thousands of other concerned groups and individuals across the United States who have signed similar compacts. We, the undersigned, are committed to creating a more welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for immigrants in our cities, our counties, and our state. We affirm that the following principles should be the basis of federal, state, and local policies.
A CULTURALLY RICH, WELCOMING COMMUNITY Immigrants have been integral to our nation's culture since its inception, and they continue to contribute in new and lively ways. We call on our federal, state, and local leaders to help us reaffirm our legacy as a welcoming, inclusive place. We support programs and policies that respect diversity and enable immigrants and their children to participate fully in the life of our communities.
A FAIR AND PRODUCTIVE ECONOMY People are best served by policies that promote productive investment, widely shared opportunity, and workplace equity for all. We acknowledge the important economic roles of immigrants as workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and taxpayers. Because some employers take advantage of vulnerable immigrants in ways that harm the entire workforce as well as other businesses, we call for reform that includes protection of immigrants from abuse and retaliation. We believe that our nation should welcome people to invest their lives, their wealth, and their labor on fair and reasonable terms.
FAMILY UNITY Strong families are the foundation of vibrant communities. We oppose policies that unnecessarily separate families and harm our children. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education, and well-being of all people in our community.
DEMOCRACY AND PARTICIPATION We support the creation of a pathway to legal status and citizenship. Many immigrants are contributing members of our communities yet must live in the shadows with no way to regularize their status. Our democracy will be stronger when all members of the community have a stake and a voice.
SECURITY FOR ALL Immigration reform represents an opportunity to better ensure law and order by directing enforcement to matters of serious crime. Reform should make it easier for authorities at all levels to avoid unjustly criminalizing immigrants who pose no threat to public safety. It also would help foster a positive relationship between law enforcement and all members of the community that will enhance our mutual security.
FEDERAL SOLUTIONS We believe that immigration policy falls under the authority of the federal government. We encourage our Senators and Representatives to help develop immigration policies that work for the benefit of all Tennessee residents. Likewise, we urge our state and local public officials to adopt policies that are welcoming and inclusive for all people in our state and that do not infringe on Constitutional rights of our state’s residents.