IW GRASSROOTS UPDATE

September 20, 2013

MAKING THE CASE TO ELECTED OFFICIALS

Facebook CEO presses Speaker Boehner on reform

September 18, 2013

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg traveled to Washington to meet with House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Charles Schumer. Zuckerberg also sat down with Atlantic magazine editor in chief James Bennet for a live-streamed interview on immigration. Zuckerberg's bottom line: “In order to be productive, you want to get the best folks into the country, and solving those policies is a big deal” . . . read more

Small business owners bring economic argument to member of Congress
September 12, 2013

Small business owners visited the Vancouver district office of Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to deliver a copy of a report on the economics of immigration. Main Street Alliance of Washington organized the visit. Among the sectors represented: hospitality, automotive sales and financial planning. Hoesly ECO Automotive owner and Main Street Alliance of Washington chair Don Orange made the business case: “When we hit three months since the passage of the Senate package, that delay will have cost Washington State almost 2500 jobs and over $234 million in economic activity” . . . read more

College and university officials write letter to congressional delegations
September 19, 2013

More than 100 college and university officials in ten states signed letters to their congressional delegations explaining how they work to attract and retain foreign students. Signatories included the presidents of Cornell University, Utah State University and the University of Texas at Dallas. Their message: “Our current immigration system creates real obstacles to growth. Low limits on high-skilled visas leave immigrants with no way to stay after earning a diploma or they face untenable delays for a permanent visa.” The Partnership for a New American Economy coordinated the letters . . . read more

EVENTS AND SPEECHES

North Carolina Farm Bureau cosponsors forum
September 11, 2013

North Carolina business leaders joined former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at a forum in Raleigh, NC. The event was cosponsored by the North Carolina Farm Bureau, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Bibles, Badges and Business coalition. Representatives of the hospitality and agriculture sectors made the business case for reform. Van Wingerden International, Inc. co-owner Bert Lemkes: “The best border security is a good immigration system” . . . read more

California business owners explain economic benefits of immigration
September 9, 2013

Business owners in Palmdale, CA participated in a press conference explaining the benefits of immigration for the local economy. Among the participants: representatives from the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and several small business owners. Lucky Roxy’s Café owner Roxana Martinez: “[Unauthorized immigrants] want to start a business, they want to create jobs, they want to better their community just as we are doing now” . . . read more

Houston business owners make economic and moral case for reform
September 13, 2013

Business leaders joined local clergy for a roundtable discussion at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Speakers argued that reform was a win-win – for immigrants and for the Texan economy. Marek Family of Companies president and CEO Stan Marek summed up the argument: “An estimated 2.1 million undocumented reside within our Texas borders, and it’s time they were brought out of the shadows. Too many are working in low-paying jobs and being held hostage because of their status” . . . read more

Business leaders in Paul Ryan’s district call for reform
September 13, 2013

Business leaders joined a broad coalition for a roundtable discussion in Racine, WI. Among the participants: a representative of the Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce, Mayor John Dickert and a downtown bar and restaurant owner. The event was sponsored by Business Forward, a national association of business leaders with ties to the Obama administration. Mayor Dickert explained the goal of reform: “getting people documented so we can benefit from their economy” . . . read more

Business and faith leaders meet with Waco editorial board
September 15, 2013

Texas Association of Business president Bill Hammond led a group of business and faith leaders in a meeting with the Waco Tribune-Herald editorial board. Among the topics discussed: border security, unauthorized immigrants and the Texas economy. Hammond offered the business perspective: “When it comes to roofing in the summertime or waiting tables or picking cucumbers, it’s never been that people born in America or born in Texas will not take those jobs. It has always been that not enough people born in Texas or born in America will take those jobs” . . . read more

IN THE MEDIA

Help legalize workers
By Todd Rushing, part-owner, Concentrics Restaurants
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 12, 2013

“My partner Bob Amick and I own and operate five restaurants in Atlanta employing 300 people. Our employees are immigrants from Mexico and Central America. They are cooks, dishwashers and service staff, all vital to a restaurant’s success. We need Congress to repair the immigration system so it benefits our business and the economy” . . . read more

Immigration reform would help Detroit turn things around
By Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce
Detroit Free Press
September 16, 2013

“As Detroit navigates bankruptcy, there is no doubt that talent will play a key role in the city’s recovery. Maintaining the world-class work force already present in the region, and adding more highly skilled workers, will attract businesses, innovation and investment from around the world. While there is no silver bullet for Detroit’s fiscal challenges, meaningful immigration reform would provide a big boost to the city’s recovery” . . . read more

Immigration reform vital to Wisconsin bioscience
By Bryan Renk, executive director, BioForward
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
September 16, 2013

“Bioscience is big business in Wisconsin, an industry that has steadily added employees – even when other sectors of the economy were shrinking – and now supports nearly 30,000 Wisconsin jobs and adds $7 billon to the state economy. With smarter immigration policies, such as those currently being considered in Congress, we could do even more” . . . read more

Immigration reform – a farmer’s view

By Robert McMullin, president, McMullin Orchards
Deseret News
September 13, 2013

“Our immigration system is broken. Even today we are wasting peaches, apples and pears because we cannot get them picked in time. The work is strenuous and temporary, and most Americans simply won’t do it. We don’t know yet how much labor shortages will cost us on these harvests, but the loss will be substantial both for the local economy and us” . . . read more