IW UPDATE - BUSINESS GRASSROOTS

August 2, 2013


ORGANIZING FOR THE AUGUST RECESS

FWD.us forms coalition to make the case at town hall meetings

July 15, 2013

Mark Zuckerberg’s political advocacy organization FWD.us formed a coalition to keep a calendar of congressional town hall meetings and mobilize pro-reform speakers to attend. Among those participating in the broad-based coalition: brand-name tech companies, national trade associations, local chambers of commerce, faith leaders and immigrant rights groups. FWD.us president Joe Green explained: “There are many different constituencies working on reform, and we’re working with anyone who wants to help move the debate forward” . . . read more

The Partnership for a New American Economy mobilizes members in 14 states

July 19, 2013

The Partnership for a New American Economy is watching 40 House Republicans and will mobilize members in 14 states during the August recess. Among the activities planned: editorial board meetings, roundtable discussions with Better Business Bureau consumer groups and mobilizing donors to make the case to their elected representatives. “This is not a fight that’s going to be won in Washington,” said John Feinblatt, chairman of the partnership and chief policy adviser to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg . . . read more

ABC launches grassroots action campaign

July 31, 2013

Associated Builders and Contractors launched a grassroots campaign urging its 22,000 member companies to contact lawmakers and make the case for immigration reform. The association distributed a toolkit: talking points, background materials, tips for a meeting with a member of Congress and inviting a member to visit your business. Also part of the package: ABC Action, a smartphone app that business owners can use to contact their representatives . . . read more

ImmigrationWorks USA launches grassroots action campaign
August 1, 2013

ImmigrationWorks held a national conference call to kick off its August grassroots campaign. The organization distributed a toolkit: a checklist of advocacy activity, a primer on the economics of immigration, talking points and tips for inviting a member of Congress to tour your business. The group’s advice to business advocates: “Lawmakers can read what the experts think, they can look up the facts. What no one else can do as well as you: make it real. Why does immigration reform matter to you and your business?” . . . read more

MAKING THE CASE TO ELECTED OFFICIALS

U.S. Chamber of Commerce sends letter to House leadership

July 30, 2013

More than 400 companies and business groups signed a letter to House leadership organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Signatories included national trade associations, local chambers of commerce, Cargill, IBM, Oracle, Ingersoll Rand and many smaller companies. Their message: “Immigration reform now will accelerate U.S. economic growth at a critical time when it has struggled to recover, and will help to enable sustained growth for decades to come” . . . read more

The National Association of Manufacturers sends letter and hosts briefing
July 11, 2013

More than one hundred companies and trade associations joined the National Association of Manufacturers to send a letter to the House urging passage of comprehensive immigration reform. The organization followed up with a “Shopfloor” briefing on the Hill cohosted by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Among the participants: representatives from Caterpillar, Cargill and Logan’s Sausage . . . read more

Business letter calls on House Republicans to support a path to legalization
July 30, 2013

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez’ political action committee, Republicans for Immigration Reform, sent a letter to House Republicans urging them to support a “path to legal status.” More than one hundred business leaders and Republican donors signed the letter, including Karl Rove, former Vice President Dan Quayle and Staples founder Tom Stemberg. Their message: “Immigrants are often entrepreneurial, family-minded, and guided by faith. These are Republican values” . . . read more

AZ and TX business owners ask members of Congress to create a worker visa program

July 31, 2013

More than 270 Arizona and Texas business leaders signed letters urging their congressional representatives to support a visa program for less-skilled workers. ImmigrationWorks USA worked with state groups to coordinate the letters. Signatories included state and local trade associations and an array of companies, large and small. Their message: “The heart of reform is fixing the legal immigration system so it works for America in the future, admitting the immigrants we need and preventing future illegal immigration” . . . read more

ImmigrationWorks USA brings small business owners to the Republican Policy Committee

July 19, 2013

ImmigrationWorks USA organized a briefing for the House Republican Policy Committee: employers from across the U.S. explaining how immigrant workers help sustain their businesses and support jobs for Americans up and downstream in the local economy. Speakers included the owner of a New Mexico food processing business, a Colorado realtor and a former manager of Pulte Homes . . . read more

California strawberry farmers hold a rally, then travel to Washington to meet with lawmakers

July 26, 2013

Strawberry farmers from California’s Central Coast rallied in support of immigration reform, then traveled to Washington to meet with members of Congress. The growers, many of them immigrants themselves, were joined by a broad group of elected officials, community leaders and Silicon Valley technology companies. California Strawberry Commission chairman Victor Ramirez laid out the farmers’ position: “We want to explain to lawmakers how our industries have been built in large part by immigrants, who remain essential to the future success of our nation’s economy” . . . read more

EVENTS AND SPEECHES

Caterpillar executive speaks out in favor of reform

July 18, 2013

Caterpillar corporate counsel Mark Peters made the case for reform at a forum sponsored by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition and hosted by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Attendees included representatives from business, agriculture, faith and law-enforcement groups. Caterpillar’s message: “This is a horribly broken system” . . . read more

California Chamber of Commerce releases video making economic case for reform
July 16, 2013

The California Chamber of Commerce released a video calling on members of Congress to enact reform. The largest business advocacy group in California, the chamber has 13,000 members and represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in the state. Among the group’s requests: that Congress implement a temporary worker program. Chamber CEO Allan Zaremberg: “This is so important to California’s economy” . . . read more

Colorado businesses launch “buy-cott” to support reform
July 29, 2013

Colorado businesses and immigration reform advocates held rallies in four cities to support a statewide “buy-cott” of businesses that endorse immigration reform. The Colorado Main Street Alliance is among the sponsors of the campaign, and the rallies attracted nearly 400 local businesses. “I see a lot of people who struggle to get jobs and education,” said Maria Maestas, owner of the Las Marias restaurant in Grand Junction. “It would be easier if these hard-working people were citizens” . . . read more

Washington State businesses post fliers in their storefront windows

July 11, 2013

More than a hundred businesses in Clark County, WA posted immigration reform fliers in their storefront windows. Then business representatives joined immigrant rights advocates and members of the Main Street Alliance at a press conference. Hoesly Eco Automotive owner Don Orange was one of several speakers: “Businesses in this country are endorsing a pathway to citizenship,” he said. “Two-thirds of the Senate doing anything is an amazing thing, and it’s time for the House to get something done” . . . read more

IN THE MEDIA

House, knowledge economy needs immigrants

By Joe Green, president, FWD.us
CNN.com

July 2, 2013

“America’s greatest asset has always been its people, drawn here from all over the world. In the 21st century, our economic future depends on immigrants more than ever. The fastest-growing sector of our economy is the knowledge economy, where the main competitive difference is people” . . . read more

Immigration reform will make America’s economy stronger
By Padmasree Warrior, chief technology and strategy officer, Cisco
Roll Call

July 17, 2013

“As a business leader from a Silicon Valley high-tech company, I was overjoyed to learn that the U.S. Senate had approved immigration reform including high-skilled worker provisions on a strong bipartisan basis. This legislation, I believe, is a significant step forward, and I hope that the House will take action soon” . . . read more

Senate immigration bill is pro-business
By Hector Barreto, former head, Small Business Administration and current chairman, The Latino Coalition
Townhall.com

July 15, 2013

“Meaningful immigration reform will provide more possibilities for this nation to attract the best and brightest highly-skilled workers and will keep America competitive in the science and technology fields. Immigrants’ expertise in these areas will benefit American companies, help this nation meet workforce needs and prevent the shipping of jobs overseas” . . . read more

Immigration reform: it’s alive!
By Tamar Jacoby, president, ImmigrationWorks USA
Los Angeles Times

July 18, 2013

“Reports of the death of immigration reform are greatly exaggerated. The debate isn’t over. Reform isn’t tanking. It’s alive and well, with the Republican-controlled House preparing to take up where the Democratic Senate left off a few weeks ago” . . . read more

Skilled worker immigration reform should be top priority in House
By Paul Guzzi, president and CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and Richard Perez, president and CEO, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
The Hill

July 12, 2013

“U.S. immigration policies have failed to keep pace in an increasingly competitive and globalized 21st-century economy. Outdated policy restrictions have shut out tens of thousands of skilled foreign workers, international students who graduate from our universities with degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) fields, and overseas entrepreneurs” . . . read more

Immigration reform bill has changes NC needs
By Harvey Schmitt, president and CEO, Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
Raleigh News and Observer

July 15, 2013

“North Carolina’s economy is slowly recovering from the recession, and commonsense immigration reform would help to provide the economic growth that we badly need. We now fervently hope it receives a favorable bipartisan hearing in the House of Representatives. It’s past time to address this issue” . . . read more

Immigration reform also good for business
By Victor Azar, founder and owner, Café MAC and Victor’s Hummus
Spokane Spokesman-Review

July 13, 2013

“Some Republican representatives in the House are stirring up opposition to immigration reform by rehashing old talking points about amnesty and taking jobs. It seems to me in their rush to opposition they’ve missed a key factor: the connections between immigration and small business. My family story is an immigration story. My mother, father, siblings and I arrived in Spokane from Jordan in 1973. Our story is also a small-business story” . . . read more

Why immigration reform must include a path to citizenship
By Nan Stockholm Walden, vice president, Farmers Investment Company, and Rev. Chris Schutte, rector, Christ Church Anglican
AZCentral.com

July 12, 2013

“We believe bringing immigrant workers into the sunshine will protect all U.S. workers, who should enjoy fair wages and protections. This can both liberate law enforcement to concentrate on the criminals truly threatening our country and end the pecan farm’s struggle to find the necessary 50 to 60 seasonal workers each year at harvest time – a challenge many farmers face nationwide” . . . read more

Business helped by immigration
By Ron Nelson, small business owner
Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2013

“As a Nevada small business owner, I have watched as our immigration system has shackled our economic competitiveness. How Congress acts in the coming weeks will determine whether we continue with a broken system or we devise a new way of doing things that gives American businesses and workers a crucial boost in a challenging economy” . . . read more

Chamber backs immigration reform
By Jody Hansen, president, Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
The Monterey County Herald

July 28, 2013

“The Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, representing 800 members, stands united in support of adopting comprehensive national immigration reform this year. America’s immigration system is broken and does not meet the needs of business” . . . read more