IW UPDATE - BUSINESS GRASSROOTS

August 15, 2013
 
AUGUST RECESS CAMPAIGNS

Bibles, Badges and Business coalition launches August grassroots campaign
August 12, 2013

Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform launched a series of Roundtables for Reform in states across the Midwest and Intermountain West. The McLean County Chamber of Commerce joined with the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition to cosponsor a roundtable in Bloomington, IL. A second event, in Glendale, AZ, was sponsored by the Glendale Chamber. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Great Lakes Region director Ben Taylor spoke at the Bloomington forum: “We can choose to ignore the 11 million people that are already here and already working and part of our economy, or we can choose to face the problem and find a workable solution” . . . read more

U.S. Travel Association launches online platform to showcase visitor complaints

August 12, 2013

The U.S. Travel Association launched a campaign urging lawmakers to make America’s visitor entry process simpler and more efficient. Business travelers and tourists will tell their stories on an online platform. Among the association’s asks: more resources for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers. International visitors “spend billions staying at our hotels, eating in our restaurants, shopping in our stores, visiting our attractions and conducting business that supports the U.S. economy,” says the Travel Association. “But often-lengthy lines deter many from returning – and they’re telling other potential U.S. visitors to avoid trips here, too” . . . read more

EVENTS AND SPEECHES


Tech company CEOs headline panel at Las Vegas SXSW
August 12, 2013

Tech business leaders joined Nevada Rep. Joe Heck for a panel on immigration at the South by Southwest Conference in Las Vegas. Among the panelists were CEOs of several well-known startup companies, who underlined the link between immigration and entrepreneurship. Bluefields CEO Andrew Crump: “I find it unbelievably strange that in a country founded on modern immigration and entrepreneurship, there is no clear path for foreign entrepreneurs to build their companies here. America should want the next Facebook or Twitter to be built in the U.S.” . . . read more

California growers urge Congress to act

August 14, 2013

Representatives of California’s leading agricultural associations joined with farm worker advocates to urge the House to act on immigration reform. Among the groups attending the roundtable discussion in Sacramento: the California Farm Bureau Federation, the California Canning Peach Association and the California Poultry Federation. U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse also participated. Canning Peach Association president and CEO Rich Hudgins explained the urgency for agriculture: “It is not a question of if your peaches are going to get picked by a foreign worker or not. It’s whether that worker is going to be picking fruit in California, or picking fruit in China or Mexico or Chile or another country” . . . read more

Texas agriculture leaders discuss immigration at produce convention

August 9, 2013

The annual Texas Produce Convention hosted a panel on immigration reform in San Antonio. Participating employers and employer groups included Texas Citrus Mutual, the Texas Vegetable Association, Select Milk Producers and the International Bank of Commerce. According to Bruce Frasier, president of Dixondale Farms in Carrizo Springs, “If Congress does nothing, it’s amnesty” . . . read more

Staten Island Hispanic Chamber cosponsors a forum
August 9, 2013

The Staten Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Staten Island Immigrants Council to sponsor a forum on the economic benefits of immigration. Attendees included small business owners, faith leaders and community activists. “Immigration will always be an issue,” said Jennifer Gray-Brumskine, Liberian-American owner of Conte Global Enterprise. “But it also drives the American economy” . . . read more

MAKING THE CASE TO ELECTED OFFICIALS

Caterpillar CEO gives Sen. Dick Durbin a tour of company facilities

August 8, 2013

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman gave Senate Gang of Eight member Dirk Durbin a tour of the company’s visitor center in Peoria, and they spoke together to the media, expressing support for the Senate bill and encouraging the House to act. The CEO’s message: “The environment is as competitive and tough as it has ever been, and by tackling the immigration issue on the scale we are discussing, we will make this country and companies like Caterpillar more competitive” . . . read more

AZ Chamber of Commerce hosts roundtable for Sen. John McCain

August 14, 2013

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce hosted a roundtable meeting with Sen. John McCain. The Senator also attended a separate session with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. His message: the Arizona business community must step up and convince the state’s congressional delegation to support reform . . . read more

Agricultural and tech leaders join forces to visit Capitol Hill

August 9, 2013

The California Strawberry Commission and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group joined forces to visit Capitol Hill and make the business case for immigration reform. The unlikely partnership reflects economic reality in California: agriculture and high-tech are two of the state’s leading industries, and both rely heavily on immigrant workers. Santa Maria farmer and Strawberry Commissioner Lorena Chavez told lawmakers about the labor shortage in agriculture. “We have jobs available here for farm workers. Unfortunately we don’t have the people to fill the positions” . . . read more

IN THE MEDIA


How Obama can clinch immigration deal
By Tamar Jacoby, president, ImmigrationWorks USA
CNN.com

August 14, 2013

“Members of Congress working to pass immigration reform are divided on many issues, but there’s one they agree on: pressure from the White House would only spur resistance on Capitol Hill. Still, there’s an exception to every rule. The president has the power to transform the immigration debate by one simple action: nominating a tough, law-enforcement Republican to replace Janet Napolitano as secretary of Homeland Security” . . . read more

Immigration reform would be a boon to our economy
By Monty McLaurin, chair, Kingsport Chamber Board of Directors and CEO, Indian Path Medical Center
Kingsport TN Times News

August 12, 2013

“Kingsport Chamber has joined a growing coalition of Tennessee business, civic and community leaders along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – all of which believe it is time for Congress to take action to create a modern immigration system that is easier to understand, navigate and implement. We need a system that ensures all immigration laws are enforced, obeyed and our borders secured” . . . read more

Immigration reform matters to small businesses

By Jerry Bustamante, SVP of public policy, Southern Arizona office of the Arizona Small Business Association
Inside Tucson Business

August 9, 2013

“When we look at the complex and contentious issue of immigration reform, some wonder how big an issue it is to small businesses. The answer is that it’s just as big an issue to America’s small-business community as it is to corporate America. The consequences of inaction and procrastination are at least the same for all of us” . . . read more

Immigration reform is pro-agriculture
By Gene Davidson, executive director, Tennessee USDA Farm Service Agency
Tullahoma News

August 8, 2013

“Immigration reform is very important for farmers, farm workers and communities across rural America. The majority of our agriculture workforce is made up of immigrants, and their hard work has helped America’s farmers and ranchers lead the world. Rural America needs Congress to act as soon as possible to carry forward the work of the U.S. Senate and fix today’s broken immigration system” . . . read more

It’s time for immigration reform to strengthen families, economy

By Mark Weaver, founder and owner, Open Door HR Solutions
Greeley Tribune

August 10, 2013

“As an evangelical Christian, a businessman and a citizen, I see that the time is now for broad immigration reform that will strengthen our families and our economy. While Congress is home for its August recess, faith, business and other leaders in northern Colorado and throughout the nation are letting our congressional representatives know that immigration reform is urgent” . . . read more