Sunday, June 22 2014, 10:47 PM CDT
Two locals head to Washington D.C. to advocate for immigration reform
By Jessica De Nova/KTVL.com
MEDFORD, Ore.-Two local activists are back from Washington D.C. after trying to make headway on immigration reform.
As part of Oregon Action, the pair participated in the Growing Our Culture delegation Tuesday.
Seven states were represented.
Leaders from rural American communities, had one message for Congress--pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a pathway to citizenship.
"Without it our farmers are gonna be in trouble then the price of food goes up, then the price of food in the restaurants goes up, then the price of
everything goes up, so it's important to recognize that without that force we can't conduct commerce," said Mary Bechtold.
Bechtold owns Spoons and Grape Street Gardens and is a principal partner for Capers.
Bechtold said she and a Medford pastor were happy to hear Congressman Greg Walden's staff is empathetic of their cause, but said the U.S. Representative
needs to take a lead in fixing the nation's immigration problems.
"We are empathetic with this, however, we feel like it's a federal problem and the thought process in my head, well I'm here. You are federal, you know, you
could take this to the floor if you wanted to. You could go to the floor. It's been passed in the Senate. This could go to the floor. Congressman Walden is
powerful in Washington D.C. Call for a vote," said Bechtold as she described a conversation between her and an employee at Walden's office.
Monte De Sion Pastor, Pedro Rivera, said undocumented immigrants already contribute to the United States.
"They pay taxes and they increase the strength and the economy of our country," said Rivera.
According to Rivera, legalizing the estimated group of 11 million will further strengthen the economy and safety of the Rogue valley, but not everyone is in
favor of change.
In Southern Oregon there is opposition to immigration reform.
Our News10 Facebook friend, Terri Lawrence disagreed with the pastor. She said the legalization of undocumented immigrants would be a financial hit on the
nation and asked where the money would come from.
Will Hinkley also had something to add on social media. He said "nations have immigration laws [...] we just have a ton of people that come here thinking
those laws shouldn't apply to them."
The pastor and small business owner said the next step was to educate the local community on the need for immigration reform in the Rogue Valley.