IW UPDATE - BUSINESS GRASSROOTS
 
June 20, 2013
 
EVENTS AND SPEECHES

South Carolina business leaders hold press conference at State House
June 13, 2013

South Carolina business leaders held a press conference at the State House in Columbia urging support for the Senate immigration bill. Participants included the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, the Palmetto Agribusiness Council, the South Carolina Farm Bureau and the South Carolina Peach Council. “It’s not only the right thing to do, but it makes good economic sense,” said Greenville businessman Rueben Montalvo, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1986 and now owns 15 businesses . . . read more

Tennessee business and civic leaders speak out in favor of reform
June 13, 2013

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce convened business and civic leaders at a press conference to release a statewide poll of voter attitudes toward immigration reform. Participants included the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Tennessee Farm Bureau and the Mid-Tennessee chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. Nearly two-thirds of poll respondents said they supported the Senate immigration proposal; 76 percent said they would support a bill that included a tough but fair path to citizenship . . . read more

San Antonio business leaders and mayor urge Senators to support reform
June 14, 2013

Texas-based construction and industrial maintenance company Zachry Holdings hosted a briefing and press conference on the Senate immigration bill. Participants included San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and 30 San Antonio business leaders. “Immigration reform is one part of a broader strategy to develop our workforce,” said Zachry executive director of public policy and government relations A. J. Rodriguez. “Immigration control and certainty make the U.S. economy more stable and stronger, leading to increased innovation and growth” . . . read more

Little Rock mayor convenes business roundtable on immigration
June 17, 2013

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola convened business leaders and educators at a roundtable to discuss immigration reform. Participants included representatives of Caterpillar, the Dassault Falcon Jet Corporation, the Arkansas pipe manufacturer Welspun, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “The point is it affects Little Rock very specifically. That’s the main point. It affects my ability to try to create an environment for jobs,” said Mayor Stodola . . . read more

National Association of Manufacturers holds simultaneous town halls
June 12, 2013

The National Association of Manufacturers hosted simultaneous town halls, one in Washington DC and one in Minneapolis. Panelists included Rep. Paul Ryan, Cargill chairman and CEO Gregory Page and former Budget Director Doug Holtz-Eakin. Speakers highlighted how immigration reform will increase visas for skilled and low-skilled foreign workers, helping to fill manufacturing workforce needs. Cargill, Microsoft and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce cosponsored the event . . . read more

Chicagoland Chamber hosts panel with Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Bill Foster
May 24, 2013

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce collaborated with the U.S. Chamber to sponsor a panel discussion featuring Illinois lawmakers, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Bill Foster. Participants highlighted the economic benefits of the Senate bill and encouraged attendees to join the newly formed Illinois Business Immigration Coalition . . . read more

North Dakota Chamber rallies employers to call for reform

May 23, 2013

The Greater North Dakota Chamber president and CEO Andy Peterson led North Dakota business leaders in a conference call with local media. The theme: how the Senate bill would help North Dakota’s economy. Microsoft senior director Don Morton argued that the country’s archaic immigration laws must be reformed to meet workforce needs. Other speakers urged North Dakotans to use social media to contact their members of Congress and express support for the Senate bill . . . read more

Colorado associations hold forum
May 14, 2013

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association, the Aspen Institute and the National Immigration Forum hosted a forum making the economic case for immigration reform. Aspen hotel general manager Warren Klug explained how hard it is for hospitality employers to recruit U.S. workers. His bottom line: “The 11 million people are not going to go away. If they did, many of our industries would be paralyzed and out of business” . . . read more

Internet Association hosts online forum with Arkansas Senators
May 20, 2013

The Washington DC-based Internet Association hosted an online forum for Arkansas business leaders to discuss immigration with Arkansas Sens. John Boozman and Mark Pryor. Participants included the Arkansas Chamber, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network. Speakers underscored how reform would benefit the Arkansas economy . . . read more

New York City Council Speaker and local businesses hold Brooklyn town hall
June 5, 2013

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined local business representatives and immigration advocates at a town hall meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Speakers included business owners and trade association representatives from the hospitality industry. Participants discussed the Senate bill and how it would affect New York residents . . . read more

MAKING THE CASE TO ELECTED OFFICIALS

Bipartisan iMarch generates 30,000 calls, posts and tweets
May 22 to 23, 2013

A bipartisan coalition that includes Michael Bloomberg, Jeb Bush, Steve Case, Ralph Reed, Arianna Huffington, Grover Norquist and a broad range of business leaders spearheaded a two-day electronic March for Innovation. The drive generated 30,000 calls, tweets and Facebook posts and reached 45 million people. The message: it’s time for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform . . . read more

U.S. Chamber of Commerce launches letter-writing campaign
May 30, 2013

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a national letter-writing campaign to persuade Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. In its first month, the campaign generated more than 3000 letters. The message: “We must take advantage of this opportunity to implement immigration reform because America cannot compete and win in a global economy without the world’s best talent, hardest workers, or biggest dreamers” . . . read more

The National Restaurant Association launches national grassroots campaign
June 12, 2013

The National Restaurant Association launched a national grassroots campaign in support of immigration reform. The association distributed a grassroots toolkit that included a sample op-ed, a sample press release and a sample action letter. In the first week of the campaign, more than 160 association members sent letters to their representatives . . . read more

The Business Roundtable reaches out to House leadership
June 17, 2013

The Business Roundtable sent a group of CEOs of major companies on a visit to the Hill and wrote a letter to House leadership urging support for immigration reform. “We’re at the threshold of a potential watershed moment,” wrote Greg Brown, chief executive of Motorola Solutions and head of the Roundtable’s immigration committee. “Whether the House works through a series of bills or one complete legislative package, we encourage you to make successful consideration of immigration reform a top priority” . . . read more

Tech startups launch web campaign
June 12, 2013

Tech-startup coalition Engine Advocacy launched an online platform, “Keep Us Here,” that people can use to send letters and tweets to members of Congress in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The Consumer Electronics Association and Silicon Valley Leadership Group are partnering in the effort. Among the firms represented by cosponsoring groups: Google, IBM, Uber and Yelp . . . read more

NAHB brings 750 builders to Capitol Hill
June 4 to 8, 2013

The National Association of Home Builders’ annual legislative conference drew 750 builders from around the country to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and make the case for immigration reform. Attendees called on Congress to pass legislation that restores the housing market and boosts economic growth. Among the group’s top asks: a workable temporary worker program that enables employers to hire legal immigrants when there are no willing and able Americans . . . read more

ABC hosts 350 members at legislative conference
June 12, 2013

More than 350 ABC members traveled to Washington to meet their members of Congress. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah addressed the group over breakfast and raised the issue of immigration reform, underscoring the construction industry’s need for immigrant workers. His message: tell your representatives to improve the Senate bill, eliminating the provision that limits the number of foreign workers that can be employed by the construction industry . . . read more

ACIP holds Capitol Hill advocacy day
June 3, 2013

The American Council on International Personnel brought 70 representatives from Fortune 500 companies and leading universities to Capitol Hill to express support for comprehensive immigration reform. Participants attended meetings in 38 House and Senate offices, explaining what immigrant workers contribute to their operations and how visa reform will invigorate the economy . . . read more

Greater Des Moines Partnership members travel to DC to promote reform
May 8 to 10, 2013

More than 190 members of the Greater Des Moines Partnership traveled to Washington for the group’s annual fly-in. Iowa business, civic and community leaders attended workshops on immigration and visited House and Senate offices urging members to support immigration reform . . . read more

Arkansas State Chamber hosts fly-in in Washington
April 17 to 19, 2013

The Arkansas State Chamber held a fly-in and dinner on Capitol Hill. Some 200 business owners, corporate executives and trade association leaders attended meetings with members of Congress. Among the industries represented: construction, food processing and health care. Participants highlighted how immigration reform would benefit their businesses and the Arkansas economy . . .read more

Illinois CEOs write to Congress
June 11, 2013

The Illinois Business Immigration Coalition sent an open letter to members of the Illinois Congressional delegation. Signed by some 40 members of the IBIC steering committee, the letter highlighted the economic case for immigration reform: “We must establish a path to citizenship for the undocumented currently living in Illinois and the United States, to leverage their talent and to facilitate their integration as consumers, workers and entrepreneurs” . . . read more

Meat processors and union partner to support the Senate bill
May 7, 2013

The Food Manufacturers Immigration Coalition joined with the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union to send a letter to the Gang of Eight supporting the Senate immigration bill. The FMIC is a coalition of meat processing companies and trade associations representing the beef, pork and poultry industries. The UFCW represents grocery, retail, meat packing and food processing workers. Their shared message: “We support comprehensive immigration reform that reflects both our interest and our values as Americans and is consistent with our nation’s commitment to opportunity, fairness and equality” . . . read more

Kansas business leaders urge Senators to support reform
June 11, 2013

The Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform sent a letter to Kansas’ Senators urging them to support the legislation coming to the floor. Members of the coalition include the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Dairy Association. Their message: how additional visas and an accurate and effective E-Verify system will benefit businesses in Kansas . . . read more

IN THE MEDIA

Republicans and business leaders launch ad campaign
June 10, 2013

Crossroads GPS launched a $100,000 ad campaign urging conservatives to support an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. A full-page print ad will run in The Wall Street Journal, Roll Call, The Hill, Politico and online. It was signed by 53 leading Republicans and business leaders, including Jeb Bush, Karl Rove and Republican political strategist Ed Gillespie. The message: “Immigration reform presents an historic opportunity to strengthen our nation’s security and prosperity for the future” . . . read more

Utah business leaders run ad in Sunday newspapers
June 10, 2013

Utah business leaders placed a full-page ad in the Sunday editions of both major Utah newspapers. The text of the ad was an open letter to the Utah congressional delegation, urging support of the legislation moving through the Senate. Signatories included the Salt Lake Chamber, 48 Utah business leaders and the Partnership for a New American Economy. The letter urges the Utah delegation to “move forward with what is practical and in the best interest of the nation” . . . read more

ACIP and SHRM launch ad campaign
June 3, 2013

The American Council on International Personnel and the Society for Human Resource Management published a series of ads in Capitol Hill newspapers. The message: “America needs to modernize its immigration system for the 21st century.” The next step: the two groups plan to launch an interactive website that will provide members with tools to contact their elected officials . . . read more

Guest workers are the best border security
By Tamar Jacoby, president, ImmigrationWorks USA
The Wall Street Journal

June 11, 2013

“The challenge facing Congress is to create a better system – one that works for willing immigrant workers and willing employers, replaces the current illegal influx with a legal labor force and protects the rights of Americans who are looking for low-skilled jobs. The worker-visa program in the Senate bill meets most of these tests. The best antidote to illegal immigration is a legal immigration system that works” . . . read more

Immigration reform and the great demand for talent
By Joe Loughrey, former president and COO of Cummins, Inc. and Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO, Lumina Foundation
The Hill

May 29, 2013

“Attracting and retaining more highly educated immigrants will help us meet critical needs for entrepreneurs, scientists, technologists and other professionals who as a group will help create more jobs for all Americans, as these highly educated immigrants have done over multiple generations in the past. Immigrants who have the opportunity to achieve other credentials beyond high school will help us address skills gaps in many industries critical to our nation’s economic health” . . . read more

Marriott CEO posts blog on immigration reform and opportunity
By Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International
June 18, 2013

Marriott International president and CEO Arne Sorenson wrote a blog post highlighting the personal story of one of the company’s immigrant employees. Now a U.S. citizen and spa manager at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Marfelia Fernandez, came to the U.S. from Mexico at age 16 and has been with Marriott for more than two decades, working her way up from an entry-level housekeeper position. “This is the story of the American dream come true,” Sorensen wrote. Marfelia and others like her “are the reason I’m an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform” . . . read more

Grow the economy with immigration reform
By Don Brunell, president, Association of Washington Business and Mike Gempler, executive director, Washington Growers League
Seattle Times

May 22, 2013

“Congress must succeed this time. It is time for comprehensive immigration reform, and perhaps no area of the country has a greater stake in this debate than Washington state. Our economy and the health of our communities depend on trade, technology and agriculture . . . Immigration is vital to providing Washington the workforce necessary to grow our economy” . . . read more

Immigration reform hits home in Arkansas

By Randy Zook, president and CEO, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas
Arkansas Business

May 27, 2013

“Nationwide, common sense immigration policies will do wonders for the economy . . . It will create 900,000 American jobs and increase tax revenue by up to $5.4 billion. Arkansas companies in a wide variety of industries need the power and expertise of foreign workers, especially firms involved in agriculture and technology” . . .read more

Immigration bill is a good start
By Glen Hamer, president and CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Daily Miner

May 31, 2013

“We need to boost border security in certain areas and find a realistic and humane way to deal with the estimated 11 million individuals who are not in the country legally. But the bill also offers desperately needed visa reforms at both the high-skilled and low-skilled ends of America’s economy. The bill fills the shortage of high skilled workers by increasing the H-1B visa cap that fits our 21st century economy” . . . read more

There is no time for delay on comprehensive immigration reform

By Lane Beattie, president and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber
Deseret News

May 26, 2013

“The business community strongly encourages Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Reps. Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz, Jim Matheson and Chris Stewart to recognize this rare opportunity to resolve a critical issue and boost the sluggish national economy. Now is Utah’s time to lead . . . I believe we will find a way to resolve this issue in a way that makes us stronger economically” . . . read more

Georgia farmers need immigration bill
By Zippy Duvall, president of the Georgia Farm Bureau
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

June 13, 2013

“For years, farmers have had difficulty finding workers. Farm jobs are physically demanding and often conducted in extreme weather, but many foreign workers see these jobs as opportunities. Most Americans do not seek farm employment . . . Most people do not want a job that lasts only six weeks. Even fewer people want to travel across the country picking fruits and vegetables in the hot sun all day” . . . read more

Maine benefits from immigration reform
By Don Berry, president of the Maine AFL-CIO, and Dana Connors, president of the Maine Chamber of Commerce
Portland Press Herald

June 16, 2013

“We feel strongly that immigration reform will help our state economy. Currently, Maine has the oldest population in the country. It is a simple truth that we need to bring more families and workers to Maine if we want to stimulate demand, create jobs and grow our economy and incomes. We need to attract people who will move to Maine communities, start new businesses and make Maine their home” . . . read more

No time like the present for immigration reform
By H.H. Barlow, dairy farmer and former member of the U.S. Board for International Food and Agriculture Development
Kentucky Forward

May 29, 2013

“The negative impacts of a broken immigration system not only affect my business personally but our state and, ultimately, our national economies. If we are not able to pass meaningful immigration reform this year, food production across the U.S. will be harmed. It’s time to overhaul our outdated system and bring it into the 21st century to alleviate the pressure on our farms and remain economically competitive with the rest of the world” . . . read more

Colorado landscapers and contractors explain need for reform
April 19, 2013

Colorado Contractors Association executive director Tony Milo and Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado executive director Kristin Fefes explained their industries’ need for immigrant workers in an interview with the Denver Business Journal. “We’re going to get to a point where we don’t have enough workers,” said Milo. “The work seasonal immigrants do in the field often supports year-round jobs in the office,” added Fefes. Both associations have endorsed the Senate bill and are urging members to express their support to members of Congress . . . read more