Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Mike Beitler told the North Carolina Latino Coalition Assembly yesterday that he supports amnesty for illegal immigrants and a pathway to citizenship. “I challenge my opponents to take the same stand,” he said.
“The role of government is to protect us from criminals, not immigrants,” Beitler said. “Immigrants, whether classified as legal or undocumented, are a benefit to North Carolina. They provide a much- needed work force, they are consumers who are spending their income in North Carolina and they are a great example to the rest of us of hard workers.”
The coalition is a nonpartisan, multi-issue network of organizations dedicated to building relational power among grassroots Latino leaders. About 1,500 delegates representing 40 organizations and churches sent delegates to the assembly held in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Durham.
Beitler was accompanied by three Libertarian candidates for Congress, Thomas Hill, District 6, Tom Rose, District 2, and Lon Cecil, District 12. In addition, Republican B.J. Lawson and the Democrat incumbent he is challenging, David Price, also addressed the assembly.
“Honest and peaceful people who are working for a living are not criminals,” Hill told the delegates that Latinos and libertarians share a belief in the value of “neighbors taking care of neighbors.”
Beitler said that no one should be considered illegal simply because of where they come from. “You have the right to go where the jobs are, without being penalized by the government, persecuted by racists, or imprisoned for simply trying to make an honest living for yourself and your family,” he said.
The candidates were asked to hold up a “yes” or “no” sign indicating their support of the assembly’s five point of immigration plan:
- Family reunification. Reduce the backlog of visa petitions that often take several years and implementing a more efficient process.
- Workers protection. Set up rules to protect wages and working conditions of those admitted legally to fill available jobs.
- Restore the rule of law and enhance security. Employ realistic law enforcement that targets terrorists, smugglers and lawbreaking employers.
- Allocate sufficient visas to close unlawful migration channels. Set the level of legal immigration by labor market needs.
- A rational and humane approach to the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrant population. Create a registration process that includes background checks, a fine, taxes and studying English and leads to permanent residency and citizenship.
Only Lawson held up a “no” sign. He told the delegates that he could not in good conscience support amnesty for illegal immigrants.