A Louisville-based consulting firm is hosting a forum on immigration reform with the hope of finding common ground.
In the past year, TAC 4 Solutions had held several public discussions on tough political issues such as gun control, campaign finance reform and President Obama’s health care law. The group’s aim is to hold respectful dialogue and change the tone of political conversation.
There appears to be movement on improving the immigration system after Republicans performed poorly among Hispanics in the fall election.
Recently, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., delivered a speech on immigration reform that was praised by liberal and Tea Party activists. Paul noted that Republicans have been losing “both the respect and votes” of Hispanics due to the GOP’s “harsh rhetoric.”
Kate Miller is a program director with the ACLU of Kentucky, and a featured panelist. She says it is encouraging to hear Paul’s remarks because the majority of Americans want to improve the system.
“We haven’t had an opportunity to review all of Senator Paul’s proposal, but I can assure you that we are thrilled that his proposal includes a pathway to citizenship,” she says. “And really it’s not surprising that someone with his political background would support a more practical system. As most people know, it’s very expensive to maintain our current immigration system.”
Paul did not use the word “citizenship” in his speech and conservatives have contended that opponents are trying to take the remarks out of context. But Kentucky’s junior senator did argue Congress should find a way for illegal immigrants to be able to stay in the U.S. without being deported.
A group of House Republicans including Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, praised Paul’s stance on the issue. However, conservative lawmakers stress any comprehensive reforms hinge in large part on securing U.S. borders first.
“Immigration is a contentious issue in American politics. In our zeal for border control, we have sometimes obscured our respect and admiration for immigrants and their contribution to America,” Paul said.
For the forum’s organizers, however, immigration is less important than finding a way to disagree and still finding common sense solutions.
“My concern is really more about the way we discuss politically as opposed to what the exact topic is, I want us to always be aware that we don’t have the full picture no matter what the topic,” says Alan Claypool, president of TAC 4 Solutions. “I want us to learn a new set of ground rules.”
The forum will also feature a representative from Advocates for America.
It is scheduled for next Tuesday at the Creative Workshop, located at 1205 E. Washington Street in the Butchertown neighborhood.
It costs $9 to pre-register or $10 at the door.