IW GRASSROOTS UPDATE

September 13, 2013


MAKING THE CASE TO ELECTED OFFICIALS


More than 100 HR executives send letter to House leadership
September 10, 2013

More than 100 human resource executives signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging them to act on immigration reform. Signatories included executives from American Express, Verizon, Proctor & Gamble, American Airlines and the Coca-Cola Company. Motorola Solutions VP Michele A. Carlin explained: “We are committed to engaging this fall because we are so close, and it is within our reach. It’s not often that you see such widespread support on an issue of this importance” . . . read more

More than 450 businesses and business groups sign ad urging Congress to act
September 11, 2013

More than 450 businesses and business groups signed an ad welcoming Congress back from recess and calling on members to take action on immigration. Signatories included AT&T, Facebook, Virgin America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The message: “We are united in the belief that we can and must do better for our economy and country by modernizing our immigration system. Failure to act is not an option.” The ad ran in Politico and The Hill . . . read more

Chicago business executive joins rally outside congressman’s office
September 6, 2013

Willis Chicago managing partner John Atkinson participated in a rally calling on Republican Rep. Dan Lipinski to support reform. A global insurance and risk management firm, Willis Chicago employs more than 17,000 people worldwide and owns the second tallest skyscraper in the U.S. – what used to be called the Sears Tower, now the Willis Tower. Atkinson’s message: “As someone who has created jobs in this city and helps small to medium-size employers to grow their businesses, I know that we need immigration reform to meet our growing business demands” . . . read more

EVENTS AND SPEECHES

New Jersey business leaders call for streamlined visa program
September 5, 2013

Three New Jersey chambers of commerce came together to organize a press conference and send a letter to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen supporting reform and calling for a streamlined visa program. Among the participants: the MidJersey Chamber, the Morris County Hispanic American Chamber, the Hispanic American Chamber of Essex County and the U.S. Chamber. Among the topics discussed: immigrant workers and immigrant entrepreneurs. Twenty-nine percent of New Jersey businesses are owned by immigrants . . . read more

Los Angeles business and labor hold press conference
September 9, 2013

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce joined with a broad coalition of labor and rights groups to hold a press conference on the steps of the Chamber’s office. Among the participants: the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, SEIU West, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. Chamber president Gary Toebben summed up their message: “We can bring 11 million aspiring citizens out of the shadows and into the light. In so doing, we will inject more than a trillion dollars into the U.S. economy over the next decade” . . . read more

Fresno small business owners demand action
September 10, 2013

Small business owners from California’s Central Valley participated in a press conference calling on Congress to pass reform. Among the participants: the Nisei Farmers League and the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber. Former Hispanic chamber president John Hernandez made the business case: “There are currently people that can’t work and can’t produce income or they’re working under the table. [Reform] will bring those dollars up and into the system, which will help the economy here locally” . . . read more

Pennsylvania business leaders hold business roundtable in Philadelphia
September 5, 2013

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry sponsored a business roundtable in Philadelphia. Participants included a builder and an owner of an engineering firm, who explained how much their businesses rely on foreign workers. Chamber vice president Sam Denisco focused on policy: “We’d rather not see one piece get done and not another, because we think broad-based reform is direly needed” . . . read more

IN THE MEDIA

U.S. Chamber of Commerce president makes case for reform
August 30, 2013

U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Thomas Donohue appeared on C-SPAN Newsmakers to answer questions from a panel of journalists. Among the topics covered: the political climate for immigration reform and the need to find an answer for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Donohue’s bottom line: “You don’t get a bill if you don’t have a strong path to legality” . . . read more

As Congress dawdles, the world steals our talent
By Steve Case, chairman and CEO, Revolution
Wall Street Journal
September 9, 2013

“While immigration is often debated in the U.S. as a humanitarian matter, or a political matter or a legal matter (and it is all those things), our global competitors see it for what it is: a critical economic matter in a global race for talent, job creation and innovation. This is why the House of Representatives needs to swiftly pass a comprehensive immigration reform that gives us the tools to win this global battle for talent, and addresses the other economic, political and moral shortcomings of the current system. Every day that goes by without reform, our economic future is imperiled” . . . read more

A glass half-full on immigration reform
By Glenn Hamer, president and CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
White Mountain Independent
September 6, 2013

“How broken is our system? Canada with a population one-tenth of ours admits more high-tech visa workers than the United States. That is nuts. Yes, there are still serious differences over who should be eligible for a pathway to citizenship, the details of the visa program and how best to protect the border, but consensus can be had” . . . read more

Travel industry supports immigration reform
By Arne Sorenson, CEO, Marriott International
Tampa Tribune
September 6, 2013

“Action now on immigration is not only in the best interest of a company such as ours, which has three dozen hotels in the Tampa Bay area, but also in the best interests of the Republican Party, the Florida economy and the country. The hospitality industry, so critical to Florida’s economy, is integrally connected to the nation’s immigration system because it dictates our ability to welcome international visitors to U.S. destinations” . . . read more

Congress needs to fix immigration system
By Dale Bugby, owner, Vail Resort Rentals, Inc.
Vail Daily
September 6, 2013

“I work hard to recruit American workers. We pay well above the minimum wage – between $14 and $20 an hour, and taxes are withheld on all of those wages. But the U.S. labor force has changed dramatically in recent decades. Today’s workers are much more educated than the generation before them. They have other options. And when there aren’t enough willing and able Americans, I turn to foreign workers – often the only answer for a pressing labor shortage” . . . read more

Foreign labor need for survival of state chile industry
By Dino Cervantes, president, New Mexico Chile Association
Silver City Sun-News
September 8, 2013

“This chile season has begun and labor shortages around the state are jeopardizing an industry that contributes over $300 million annually to the state’s economy. Hand harvesting chile is hard, physically demanding work. Foreign labor is often the only answer for a pressing labor shortage. Recent information indicates 70 percent of the fruits and vegetables consumed domestically are now grown in other countries, due primarily to the lack of available labor in the U.S.” . . . read more

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