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ARLINGTON, Va. – In something of a coup, the $10 million, Durham, North Carolina-based Latino Community Credit Union has won the support of the normally very conservative North Carolina Credit Union League in its effort to convince credit unions to back a resolution to reform the nation’s immigration laws. “What Carolina credit unions understood was that was fundamentally an issue of fairness,” said Jim Blaine, CEO of the almost $9 billion State Employees’ Credit Union and Latino Credit Union board member. “It is fundamentally not right to be benefiting from the labor of thousands of migrant laborers without making some sort of decision about their future,” he said. Latino’s resolution was similar to one passed unanimously by the annual meeting of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions in Indianapolis in June,” said John Herrera, Chairman of the Board of Latino Community and vice president of Self-Help Credit Unions Latino programs. That resolution called on the U.S. “consistent with national economic and security interests” to reform its immigration laws to “foster legal migration, smart border security and develop a process by which workers and their families already in the United States can earn legal permanent residence status.” Blaine said that North Carolina credit unions accepted, unanimously, Latino’s observations that the state benefited from the vast majority of immigrants, mostly Latino, workers who toil in the state’s construction and food processing industries. “Virtually all the roofing done in North Carolina is done with Latino labor, as well as most of the jobs in the food processing plants,” he said. North Carolina has significant chicken and other food processing industry. “These folks deserve to either be told to go home if that is what we are going to tell them, or to have a way of documenting their status if that is what we are going to say,” he said. “Leaving them in limbo is just not right.” Herrera said he was pleased but not surprised at the Federation’s support for the initiative, but that he was extremely pleased at the North Carolina Leagues response. “If we can make our case in North Carolina,” he said, “we can make it anywhere.” Herrera noted that the initiative does not seek to mandate a process whereby an immigrant, currently undocumented, could earn his or her documentation. Rather, he said, the initiative was meant to put credit unions on the record on the issue and start the process of educating their state and federal lawmakers about it. North Carolina’s support has already been conveyed to the North Carolina Congressional Delegation, he noted. The credit union’s next goals are to propose the initiative to CUNA and the other state leagues, beginning with the states that have the largest Latino populations, Arizona, Texas, California and Florida but also including some Mid-western states where Latino communities have grown recently larger. [email protected]

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