Tom Donohue, President & CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Immigration Reform - November 14, 2014
Minnesota's economy needs the boost immigration provides - November 8, 2013
by Star Tribune Editorial Board
Rather than being seen as a “problem,’’ Minnesota’s growing immigrant population should be viewed as an important part of the state’s future prosperity.
That’s the smart conclusion of a state business coalition’s report on the economic contributions of Minnesota’s new Americans. Last week, the Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition and the state Chamber of Commerce released a study that documents why any state investments in immigrants bring multiple returns. It wisely calls immigrants important “capital’’ because they provide the state with labor, new businesses, culture, consumers and connections to global markets.
The findings underscore the need to approve comprehensive federal immigration reform. That U.S. Senate passed a bill in June that would do just that. It addresses paths to permanent residency and citizenship, border security and the visa system. Now the House must take action as well, preferably by the end of the year, before midterm election politics interfere.
Main Street Goes to Washington
'Here we were trying to grow jobs in the U.S. and we hit a roadblock'
Nov 5, 2013
What his company does: Manufactures radiation detection equipment; employs 550 people, most of them in Sweetwater
What he's doing on Capitol Hill:Visiting congressional offices to talk about the need for immigration reform. On Tuesday, he visited the offices of two Republican members of the House and two GOP senators.
Who organized this lobbying effort:The U.S. Chamber of Commerce; this fly-in of about 50 representatives from small and medium-sized companies was a followup to a larger immigration reform fly-in of business executives a week earlier
Why immigration reform matters to Truitt: The current immigration system is broken when it comes to bringing talent from abroad to Ludlum Measurements.
Exhibit A: It took eight months and $8,000 to get a visa for one person from a business Ludlum Measurements acquired in Great Britain to come to Sweetwater and train people so that Ludlum could add 20 jobs in Texas. "Here we were trying to grow jobs in the U.S. and we hit a roadblock," Truitt said.
Exhibit B: Ludlum Measurements tried to hire some scientists from a former Soviet bloc country and ran into so much difficulty that the scientists gave up and started their own company, which is now a Ludlum competitor.
Exhibit C: The company is trying to get a green card for an electrical engineer/MBA from Mexico who has been working at Ludlum on an H-1B visa. But his application is stuck in limbo because federal officials used what somebody with his education and experience makes in Houston to determine what a fair wage should be -- and came up with a salary that is higher than what maybe three people make in Sweetwater, Truitt said. The employee, who is married and has two children who were born in the U.S., really wants to stay with the company, Truitt said.
Impact of his lobbying: Face-to-face meetings with business owners and executives are important, because members of Congress can be persuaded to act "if they hear it from enough, different people," Truitt said. There's a broad consensus in the business community that immigration reform needs to happen because there's "a lot of talent outside the U.S."
Feedback from congressional offices: "They're looking at it. They know it has to be done."
What he hopes will happen: "They need to push the House leadership to at least get it into regular process. Let's get it on the floor for debate."
What he expects: "I wouldn't say I'm optimistic -- I'm hopeful." He knows the prospects for immigration reforms that make it easier to hire highly skilled workers depend on progress on other, more controversial issues, such as low-skilled worker programs and what to do about America's 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Americans for Reform - November 4, 2013
Kentucky Chamber Comes to DC to Support Immigration Reform - October 30, 2013
This week, the Kentucky Chamber's senior public affairs team visited Washington, D.C., to meet with members of the state's Congressional delegation and to work with other state and national groups to make the business case on a number of important issues.
Chamber staffers joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Partnership for a New American Economy, FWD.us and a large number of companies and faith-based organizations to make the case for comprehensive immigration reform. Staff met with members of Congress and key Congressional staff regarding immigration as well as a number of other issues important to Kentucky companies including energy, environmental regulations, waterway infrastructure, roads, bridges and agriculture.
While on the Hill, Chamber staff also joined Chamber members, state legislators and coal supporters from around the country to encourage federal leaders to support American energy production and reduce the regulatory burdens that limit our ability to utilize coal as an energy source.
Business-Conservative Alliance Presses for Immigration Action - October 29, 2013
For the business group from Utah, the lobbying blitz started well before their plane touched down in the nation’s capital.
Heading to Washington to spend Tuesday urging House Republicans to take up a broad immigration overhaul, the team of Utah business leaders buttonholed several members of their state’s congressional delegation — Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, both Republicans, and Representatives Jim Matheson, a Democrat, and Chris Stewart, a Republican — as the lawmakers waited to board their flight Monday at the Salt Lake City airport.
“Our plea is to act now, do it now, lead,” Stan Lockhart, a former chairman of the Utah Republican Party, said Tuesday in an interview as he explained the group’s basic pitch. “Ask House leadership to lead, and let’s pass what’s possible now.”
Immigration lobby targets House GOP - October 29, 2013
Business leaders on Tuesday helped mobilize an army of advocates to pressure House Republicans into taking action on immigration reform.
The Chamber of Commerce brought together more than 600 activists from around the country for the campaign. Before they headed to Capitol Hill, the activists assembled in the Chamber’s Hall of Flags to hear a presentation about how best to lobby the GOP. “
One of the most positive things that Congress could get done between now and the end of the year is to get immigration reform up and over the finish line,” Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s chief lobbyist, told the crowd to applause. “Having said that, we do have our work cut out for us,” Josten said.
More Than 600 Conservative Leaders Urge Congressional Action on Immigration Reform - October 29, 2013
Today on Capitol Hill, more than 600 conservative leaders from nearly 40 states across the country are delivering a unified message to more than 100 members of Congress: The House of Representatives needs to move forward this year on broad immigration reform.
Top conservative faith, law enforcement, and business leaders met this morning at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce before fanning out to Hill offices, all part of “Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith and Security.” Hosts include the Partnership for a New American Economy, the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network, FWD.us, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Leaders are meeting with their lawmakers to send a clear message that they support reform for the sake of our nation’s economy, security and moral integrity, and that passage of reform is urgent.
“Immigration reform remains a top priority for the business community, and the Chamber and our partners will continue to do everything we can to make the case for reform this year,” said Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber’s executive vice president for Government Affairs. “Acting on immigration during the 113th Congress would be an enormous achievement for our country and our economy, and would show the public and the world that the United States can still get things done.”
“This week, hundreds of business owners, faith leaders, and law enforcement officials are bringing their voices to Washington to tell Congress that we need to bring our broken immigration laws into the 21st Century,” said John Feinblatt, Chief Policy Advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “It’s time for members of both parties to tackle this issue and pass bipartisan immigration legislation that will strengthen our economy, create jobs, and keep America’s future bright. Our country cannot afford to wait any longer for smart reform.”
“FWD.us is thrilled to participate in the fly-in to help bring members of the tech community to DC from across the country,” said Joe Green, the President and Founder of FWD.us. “We believe it's a great way to help demonstrate the robust support for meaningful immigration reform among a broad coalition of faith leaders, business owners, and law enforcement, among many others. We care deeply about the human element of fixing our broken immigration system so that we do right by our economy and American families; we want to help bring that message to DC as successful entrepreneurs, job creators, and community members.”
“Today was an historic day. Over 600 of our nation's conservative leaders left an unequivocal message in the House of Representatives – we need immigration reform that protects the rule of law, upholds our biblical values and grows the economy,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “In every corner of the Capitol, the energy these farmers, tech leaders, police chiefs and pastors brought to the Hill was palpable. They brought a new perspective to the debate, one informed by what they see every day in their local businesses, churches and police stations – a broken system that has a negative impact on local communities nationwide. Republicans in the House of Representatives heard a message of support and urgency from their constituents; the House has an opportunity to pass reform this year.”
Marco Rubio sparks immigration debate - October 28, 2013
Marco Rubio’s latest comments supporting scaled-back immigration reform may not be the death knell for the effort that they seem.
Immigration reformers argue that the remarks don’t actually change the political calculus in the GOP-led House, which was never going to pass the Senate’s comprehensive bill anyway. Reform foes say Rubio lost any credibility he had with House conservatives by authoring the Gang of Eight bill in the first place.
The Florida senator has long called for giving House Republicans some space to come up with their own plan. And some advocates believe Rubio’s call to focus on piecemeal aspects of reform could actually pave the way for some kind of agreement between the House and Senate.
Immigration Myths and Facts Report - October 28, 2013
Illinois leaders push for immigration reform in Belvidere - October 16, 2013
Embracing undocumented immigrants who are looking to give back to their communities is the first step in enacting immigration reform, state leaders said at a forum Wednesday in Belvidere.
It will help the nation become more competitive both academically and economically with other countries in the world. All students can learn from one another in the classroom, and hardworking foreign-born residents won't have to take talents learned on U.S. soil elsewhere.
Chamber advocates for immigration reform - October 12, 2013
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce believes new arrivals are essential to fill jobs and for their entrepreneurial vision.
Immigration reform sputtered in the U.S. House in August, but the breadth of the coalition that supports some kind of reform gives Bill Blazar some encouragement.
Blazar, the second-in-command at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, has been making the case for immigration reform across the state, and recently wrote a joint op-ed with leadership from the AFL-CIO, a group with whom the chamber is not always in agreement.
Blazar answered a few questions on the topic last week.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers: Immigration a ‘priority’ for this year - October 5, 2013
A top House Republican says in an upcoming interview that the chamber will take up immigration reform in 2013, insisting that “there’s still time” for a comprehensive rewrite despite the rapidly dwindling time left on this year’s calendar.
Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said during an interview with Univision’s “Al Punto” that top leaders are still discussing when to bring immigration bills to the House floor.
America Needs Immigrants - October 1, 2013
by Thomas J. Donohue, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
When it comes to immigration, people are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. And the facts are crystal clear: Our current system is broken. It’s not serving the interests of our economy, our businesses, or our society.
Our nation can’t compete and win without the world’s best talent and hardest workers. We can’t sustain vital programs for the elderly and the less fortunate without more employees—both low-skilled and high-skilled—to grow our economy and tax base. We can’t harvest our food, care for our sick, or sustain our military without immigrants and temporary workers.
America deserves a lawful, rational, and practicable immigration system that provides the labor we need at all skill levels, while protecting the rights of citizens, businesses, the undocumented, and those legally pursuing citizenship.
We must secure our borders and enable people and commerce to flow efficiently and lawfully in and out of our country. We’ve made significant progress by smartly deploying our technology, personnel, and programs along the border. Let’s build on that.
We need thoughtfully designed employment-based visa programs that would allow employers to use immigrant labor when U.S. employees are not available. Even with high unemployment, we have millions of job openings that go unfilled. Either people will come here to fill those jobs, or the companies will take all their jobs somewhere else. Our visa system should be tied to market demands and include provisions for high-skilled, seasonal, agriculture, and other areas where employers face demonstrated labor shortages. We also need to expand the number of green cards for foreign nationals who graduate from our colleges and universities with advanced degrees.
We need a workable, reliable national employee verification system. We are ready to move forward with the national E-Verify system as long as there is strong preemption language for state and local laws, no obligation to re-verify the entire current workforce for private employers, and a safe harbor for employers acting in good faith.
Finally, we need to provide a path out of the shadows for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the United States today. As we have this debate, let’s not forget who we are, or what this nation was built upon—the dreams and hard work of those who came here seeking a better life.
Immigration reform remains a top priority for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Now is the time to strengthen our competitiveness, attract and retain the world’s best talent and hardest workers, secure our borders, and keep faith with America’s legacy as an open and welcoming society.
Immigration Must Help Economy - September 30, 2013
by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Immigration is inherent to the American identity. All of us could share a story of a grandparent, a spouse, a neighbor or a friend who came to this country seeking new opportunities and who has enriched our community as a result. Our nation has thrived because of the contributions of immigrants and their belief that success is determined by ambition, ability and drive. Legal and systematic immigration plays a critical role in our national economy, but a failing system that turns away top talent underscores the urgent need for reform.
As a border community, San Diego is faced with the unique challenge of working toward a well-trained and plentiful workforce while balancing the need for a safe and efficient border. Prioritizing border infrastructure improvements and funding land ports of entry is an essential part of enhancing our national and regional economy. Better infrastructure means improved economic prosperity of our country, which is one of the most important factors to our long-term security and reducing unauthorized immigration.
Why Immigration Reform Matters to Minnesota - September 30, 2013
by William Blazar, SVP of Public Affairs & Business Development, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Shar Knutson, President, Minnesota AFL-CIO
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota AFL-CIO do not often find themselves on the same side of the negotiating table, but common-sense immigration reform is an issue on which Minnesotans from across political spectrums have found significant common ground.
For the past three years, our organizations have traveled the state collecting stories from business owners and working people about the urgent need for immigration reform.
The America’s Cup Victory and the Immigration Debate - September 27, 2013
by Joel Fox, President, Small Business Action Committee
The Oracle USA America’s Cup winner could stand as a model for business leaders advocating relaxing some of the country’s immigration laws, especially in California’s Silicon Valley.
Many Americans who don’t know a catamaran from a Boston whaler are aware that the USA made a stunning comeback trailing 8-1 in a best of 17 sailing competition to capture the America’s Cup, a true world series of sailing dating back 162 years. But how many know that of the 11-member crew making up the winning USA yacht, only one was actually an American?
A Quick Look at Immigration Reform - September 27, 2013
Business leaders need to speak up on border issues - September 20, 2013
by Lea Márquez Peterson, CEO, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
While visiting with our Tucson Hispanic Chamber board of directors a few weeks ago, U.S. Sen. John McCain handed me a sheet of paper. Simply, it listed the economic impact on our nation and Arizona if comprehensive Federal Immigration Reform were to be made into law.
This was exactly the information I had been looking for. For many years, we’ve spoken about the need for immigration reform from a “people” perspective, such as the reuniting of families who have come to the U.S for economic survival or fleeing from persecution in their home country. I think many of us who live in Southern Arizona, so close to the Mexican border, acknowledge that our immigration system is broken, dysfunctional and not serving the needs of our families, our businesses or our nation. The Senator’s information helped to focus on the economy and business as it relates to this problem.
House Judiciary chairman pledges action on immigration, says work happening behind the scenes - September 19, 2013
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday pledged action on immigration overhaul legislation even as most of the attention on Capitol Hill is focused on fights over the budget and debt. Rep. Bob Goodlatte said the immigration issue needs to be solved and work is happening behind the scenes toward that goal.
Goodlatte, R-Va., said members of his committee are working on four bills to address various aspects of the immigration system, in addition to four that the committee already has approved. He didn’t elaborate on the bills in the works, but he and others have previously discussed legislation to grant work visas to lower-skilled workers, as well as a bill to give immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as kids an “earned path to citizenship,” as he described it Thursday.
Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us Releases New Immigration Ad - September 12, 2013
As Congress Dawdles, the World Steals Our Talent - September 9, 2013
On immigration reform, this has been a slow summer for Congress. After reform passed the Senate in June, it languished in July. While Washington then went on recess, and now has shifted its focus to Syria, what has the rest of the world been up to on economic advancement?
Germany spent the summer rewriting 40% of its immigration laws, significantly easing the bureaucratic hurdles impeding talented, foreign-born engineers and professionals from contributing to the economy there. It will now be easier than ever for U.S.-educated graduate students to start new businesses . . . in Germany.
China used the summer to double down on foreign talent recruitment. Five years after announcing its "1,000 talents program" to lure future business founders from all over the world, China has launched, in recent weeks, more than a dozen national programs offering millions of dollars annually in research grants and venture capital to elite scientists and engineers.
Local New Jersey Chambers of Commerce Partner with Community Organizations to Push for Immigration Reform - September 4, 2013
Morristown, NJ – Several local Chambers of Commerce, community organizations, New Jersey business owners and faith leaders came together today to highlight the need to pass broad-based immigration reform. The conference call served as a forum to discuss the importance of immigration for New Jersey’s competitiveness and why the U.S. House of Representatives must seek to pass a bipartisan bill that will allow current and future immigrants to contribute to the country’s high-skilled and low-skilled sectors.
Currently, immigrants total over 21% of the state’s population. Reforming the country’s immigration system will generate over a billion dollars and thousands of jobs across New Jersey. For instance, New Jersey’s universities educate scores of foreign students in hi-tech fields, only to have the outdated immigration system send these graduates back overseas where they will compete against the country where they were trained. As such, expanding the number of high-skilled (H-1B) visas will have positive economic effects. Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) estimates that expansion of the H-1B program would result in more than 12,100 jobs and add more than $1.2 billion to Gross State Product by 2014.
The United States Needs Immigration Reform - September 2, 2013
by Norm Coleman
Those who want the Senate version adopted and those who want nothing at all are both wrong.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 created the current oath of citizenship that exists today. It’s an unwieldy and bulky and wordy oath, but one that declares, in no uncertain terms, one’s loyalty to the United States of America:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
Since that time, there have been millions of people who have come to America and become citizens by uttering these 140 words.
And, as of today, there are nearly 11 million people in America who are not citizens who have yet to say these words as a requirement of becoming legal United States citizens.
That must change. It has to change.
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