Pro-immigration bill introduced in Statehouse

Pro-immigration bill introduced in Statehouse
Posted at 2:06 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 16:06:31-05

A Boise lawmaker has brought forward an initiative to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty and express support for the values it enshrines.

Rep. Hy Kloc, a Democrat, was born in Germany shortly after World War II. When he was two, his parents fled the country and found refuge in America. Kloc says his first memory of the United States was seeing the Statue of Liberty.

"I seem to remember being on the ship with my parents," said Kloc. "My mother picked me up, pointing at the Statue of Liberty and saying 'that's America.' So that's who I always thought the statue was. It was America."

Kloc introduced a continuing resolution - basically a statement from the Legislature - recognizing the statue's 130th anniversary. The proposal outlines how the statue came as the brain child of Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye, it's designation as a national monument in 1924, and its prominence today as an American icon. 

Kloc says it's appropriate in our current political climate to recall the words written inside the statue: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

"It's such an important part of America and what America is all about," said Kloc "Because of the conversation that's been going on nationally about immigrants and the turmoil that conversation is causing, I think it's very important people stop and remember America is for everybody."

Several lawmakers in the committee expressed the desire to comment on the resolution to tell their own family story of immigration. Twenty-five lawmakers from the House and Senate are co-sponsoring the bill.