IW UPDATE – BUSINESS GRASSROOTS

August 30, 2013

AUGUST RECESS CAMPAIGN


U.S. Chamber of Commerce presses the House to act
August 25, 2013

During the August recess, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spearheaded more than 70 meetings bringing together business leaders and members of Congress. Participants include state and local chambers and individual business leaders. The goal, according to Chamber spokeswoman Blair Holmes: “Pushing the House to act. While members of Congress are in their districts, we are making sure they hear from the business community” . . . read more

EVENTS AND SPEECHES

New Jersey roundtable makes business case for reform

August 22, 2013

The MidJersey Chamber of Commerce organized a roundtable discussion in the prosperous suburban town of Hamilton, NJ: a diverse array of New Jersey employers who rely on immigrant workers, high-skilled and low-skilled. Participants included the executive director of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, an owner of a local telecommunications firm and other business owners from the agriculture and tech sectors. New Jersey Main Street Alliance spokesperson Corinne Horowitz summed up the business perspective: “It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s a business and an economic issue” . . . read more

Illinois employers explain local labor need
August 28, 2013

Business leaders from Greater Lafayette, IL participated in a roundtable discussion of immigration and the local economy. Participants came from the manufacturing, agriculture and education sectors and were joined by local law enforcement and faith leaders. Greater Lafayette Chamber president Joseph Seaman made the business case: “It’s not that we’re taking jobs away from Americans. We just don’t have enough people to do some of these jobs” . . . read more

Illinois employers hold forum at university
August 27, 2013

The Illinois Business Immigration Coalition organized a conference at Northern Illinois University. Sponsors included the Illinois Chamber, the Chicagoland Chamber, the Naperville Area Chamber and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. An unauthorized honor student explained that she holds three jobs and an internship but still cannot afford to pay for college. Former Corn Products International CEO Sam Scott III took the long view: “Twenty-five years ago, there was no competition around the world when it came to attracting the best and the brightest. Globalization has changed that” . . . read more

MAKING THE CASE TO ELECTED OFFICIALS

Arizona businesses host McCain at forum
August 30, 2013

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council hosted a forum with Sen. John McCain and a dozen local business leaders. Sen. McCain urged employers to emphasize the business benefits of immigration reform to the Arizona House delegation. In the audience: members of the Arizona Restaurant Association and Arizona banking and small business trade groups. Greater Phoenix Economic Council president Barry Broome explained their position: “There’s a huge economic upside, and securing the border and regulating the immigrant workforce in Arizona . . . is key to our economic growth” . . . read more

Washington state farmers sign onto a set of principles
August 25, 2013

Yakima, WA farmers participated in an event and signed a set of principles presented to Republican Rep. Bruce Chandler. Agriculture is a mainstay of the Washington state economy: the $9 billion a year industry is the nation’s leading grower of apples, pears and cherries. Among those who signed the principles: owners of one of the largest privately-owned and operated orchards in the country. Rep. Chandler’s reaction: “I think it’s a great outline for how to start a constructive and focused conversation” . . . read more

Utah chambers make the case to Rep. Rob Bishop
August 26, 2013

North Utah business leaders met with Republican Rep. Rob Bishop to talk about the politics on immigration. Participants included representatives from the Ogden/Weber and Davis chambers. Chamber spokesman Tim Wheelwright summed up the business perspective: “It should not be a partisan issue. That’s what for business gets so frustrating . . . the partisanship that just pervades Washington and is really holding this up right now” . . . read more

Tennessee business leaders speak to congressional staffers
August 28, 2013

Tennessee business leaders met with Republican congressional staffers at a forum in Nashville and urged them to maintain existing momentum on immigration reform. Panelists included representatives of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Middle Tennessee, the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Caterpillar, Inc. Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation president Lacy Upchurch made the business case: “For farmers all across the state of Tennessee, the number one issue is the uncertainty of labor. We need an adequate supply of farm labor for the success of Tennessee agriculture and U.S. agriculture” . . . read more

IN THE MEDIA

FWD.us releases an online video about a tech entrepreneur
August 27, 2013

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s political advocacy group Fwd.us released a Facebook video about an H-1B visa holder who started his own tech business in Silicon Valley. Alex Nigg came to the U.S. 20 years ago and is now a partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, a venture capital and private equity firm. His message: “We want the Googles of the world, the Facebooks of the world, the LinkedIns of the world to be started here” . . . read more

Arizona businesses need foreign workers
By Sharon Harper, president and CEO, Plaza Companies
Arizona Republic
August 25, 2013

“As the owner and operator of Plaza Companies, and as a community leader, I know firsthand that immigration reform is essential to the Arizona economy. [We need] a system that provides workers and talent to the sectors that sustain our state economically – high-tech, agriculture, construction, health-care services and lower skilled, non-agricultural jobs. A broken and dysfunctional immigration system is not a problem that can be put off any longer” . . . read more

Midwest – and its economy – needs immigration reform
By Juliana Kerr, immigration initiative director, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Chicago Business
August 26, 2013

“The Midwest led America’s industrial revolution. But with globalization, it faces a deep economic restructuring that demands talented people with ideas and skills. From innovative and educated workers to those working in labor-intensive sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality and health care, immigrants help sustain traditional Midwestern businesses. Without immigrants, the Midwest won’t create as many jobs needed to grow the economy” . . . read more

Fixing a broken immigration system
By Lawrence Rael, executive director, New Mexico Farm Service Agency
Deming Headlight
August 25, 2013

“America has always been a nation of immigrants, and throughout the nation’s history, immigrants from around the globe have kept our workforce vibrant, our businesses on the cutting edge and helped to build the greatest economic engine in the world. But our nation’s immigration system is broken and has not kept pace with changing times. Commonsense immigration reform will generate important economic benefits in each state, from increasing workers’ wages and generating new tax revenue to strengthening the local industries that are the backbone of states’ economies” . . . read more