Why churches still matter for immigration reform

“We can’t depend on political parties to provide moral clarity.”

Ali Noorani is the director of the National Immigration Forum, an organization that highlights immigrants’ contributions to American society and seeks to reform immigration law. He was previously director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. Noorani’s recently published book There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration draws on his efforts to engage a wide range of conversation partners on the issue.

What’s gone wrong in the debate over immigration?

For years the debate has been about policy or politics. But for the majority of Americans, immigration is about culture and values. At the National Immigration Forum, we find that people’s first questions about immigration are: Is my culture going to change? Are my values going to change? Is my neighborhood going to change? We have to understand the cultural debate.