IW UPDATE - BUSINESS GRASSROOTS
 
August 23, 2013
 
AUGUST RECESS CAMPAIGNS

American Action Network launches ad campaign to support House Majority Whip
August 21, 2013

The American Action Network conservative advocacy group is launching a $65,000 ad campaign in support of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who has been under attack from the right and the left for his position on reform. The ad buy includes broadcast, cable and digital spots in Rep. McCarthy’s Bakersfield, CA district. The message: Rep. McCarthy has “the conservative approach we need that starts with securing the border first” . . . read more

Associated Builders and Contractors makes the case in districts across the U.S.

August 21, 2013

Associated Builders and Contractors is mobilizing in districts across the country, making the case to lawmakers at home during the August recess. Contractors attended a town hall in Rep. John Culberson’s Houston district and spoke out in favor of reform. ABC members in Ohio invited Rep. Brad Wenstrup to a roundtable meeting at a construction site. Builders in Wisconsin sent a sign-on letter to the Wisconsin House delegation. The aim of the campaign: to make sure lawmakers understand how much the construction industry depends on immigrant workers . . . read more

Bibles, Badges and Business coalition targets undecided House members

August 14, 2013

Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform is hosting more than a dozen roundtable discussions during the August recess, targeting primarily members of Congress who have taken no position on immigration reform. This week, business leaders in Wausau, WI held a forum for Rep. Sean Duffy. BBB Midwest regional coordinator Angela Adams explained the goal of the campaign: to expose members of Congress to “some of these voices that are traditionally more conservative in support of immigration reform” . . . read more

EVENTS AND SPEECHES

ImmigrationWorks USA hosts panel with Texas Rep. Ted Poe

August 20, 2013

ImmigrationWorks USA hosted an event in Houston with Rep. Ted Poe and a panel of Texas employers who rely on less-skilled immigrant workers. Among the sectors represented: construction, landscaping, restaurants and real estate. The business message: every regional labor market is different, and employers need a flexible, easy-to-use guest worker program that responds in real-time to varying labor market conditions . . . read more

Former governors speak to business leaders in Atlanta
August 19, 2013

An Atlanta business group, the Essential Economy Council, hosted a forum for former governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Haley Barbour of Mississippi, both now cochairs of a Bipartisan Policy Center Immigration Task Force. The governors urged business leaders to take an active role in advancing immigration reform. Gov. Rendell: “We got to get the business community to lean on Congress. We need the business community to weigh in and say, ‘It’s important. It’s a seminal issue for us'” . . . read more

Metro Atlanta Chamber members meet with editorial board

August 19, 2013

Business leaders from the Metro Atlanta Chamber met with the editorial board of the Atlanta Business Chronicle to discuss the need for immigration reform. Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson and Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson made the case that state and federal immigration laws are hurting businesses in Georgia. “Fifty percent of the graduate students at Georgia Tech are not U.S. citizens,” Peterson told the newspaper. “Our graduate students want to know they can have the opportunity to stay” in the U.S. when they finish school . . . read more

Immigrant business owners tell their stories to the media
August 18, 2013

Immigrant small business owners in Bradley Beach, NJ hosted a press conference with the town’s Republican Mayor Gary Engelstad, calling on Congress to pass immigration reform. Among the immigrant entrepreneurs who told their stories: Irene Maravelias came to the U.S. from Greece in the 1980s, worked three jobs, raised three children and opened Irene’s Cuisine in 2008. Roy Reid came to the U.S. from Jamaica in 1979 and got a job washing dishes. He now owns the Blue Marlin Restaurant and is putting a son through college. The Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street Alliance also participated in the event . . . read more

MAKING THE CASE TO ELECTED OFFICIALS


FWD.us holds roundtable with Sen. Orrin Hatch
August 15, 2013

FWD.us hosted a roundtable discussion in Utah with Sen. Orrin Hatch, FWD.us president Joe Green and a group of Utah high-tech executives. Among the sectors represented: computing, finance and internet sales. Adaptive Computing CEO Rob Clyde spoke for the group: “We can’t hire fast enough the engineers and scientists we need. We have openings that go unfilled for months. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is” . . . read more

Business leaders meet with Texas Rep. John Carter

August 20, 2013

Local business owners and evangelical Christian leaders met with Rep. John Carter in his central Texas district to make the case for immigration reform. Rep. Carter described the work being done behind the scenes by a bipartisan group crafting reform in the House. TechAmerica state director of government affairs Wendy Reilly summed up the business message: “We urge Congress to enact legislation that will bring meaningful reforms. Our companies must be able to hire the best and brightest talent from around the world” . . . read more

Pizzeria owners take message to New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance

August 21, 2013

A group of pizzeria owners from northern New Jersey held a press conference and met with Rep. Leonard Lance, urging him to support comprehensive immigration reform. The restaurateurs’ argument: reform would be good for business. Frank Vasfailo, owner of The Brick Oven in Westfield, explained: “If we bring [immigrants] out of the shadows, they’ll work more, they’ll pay more taxes, and that money adds up. It will solve a lot of budget problems for our state and reduce the federal deficit” . . . read more

IN THE MEDIA

Comprehensive immigration reform a must for Texas business
By Bill Hammond, president and CEO, Texas Association of Business
Waco Tribune-Herald

August 20, 2013

“Texas is on the front line of the current immigration debate. We have seen firsthand the cost of a broken border and the toll it can have on citizens and immigrants alike. There also has been a toll on Texas businesses that can only be removed by Congress and the president putting into place comprehensive immigration reform” . . . read more

House members pledge support for immigration reform
By Carl Guardino, president and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
San Francisco Gate

August 19, 2013

“For more than a dozen years, the Leadership Group has gone to Washington to push for immigration reform, only to see those hopes dashed on the partisan shores of the Potomac. This month it was different. We heard many voices for compromise during our visit to the House. Together we can advance what we know is for the country’s good. It is why I am optimistic that Congress will pass meaningful immigration reform” . . . read more

Washington economy needs immigration reform
By Judy Olson, executive director, Washington State Farm Service Agency
Columbia Basin Herald

August 16, 2013

“It’s a rare issue that brings together Washington’s agricultural industry, immigration rights groups, business associations, faith organizations and politicians from both sides of the aisle. After years of hard work by many organizations and individuals in the state and elsewhere, the U.S. Senate passed a bi-partisan immigration reform bill that promises to benefit Washington’s agriculture, its economy and many people living and working here. We are so close to achieving this long-sought goal that we can’t let this opportunity fail” . . . read more

Immigration reform debate reaches into cities, farms of central Wisconsin
By Tom Still, president, Wisconsin Technology Council
WisOpinion.com

August 16, 2013

“Immigration reform can help the Wisconsin economy at a time when the demographics of an aging society are chipping away at the state’s workforce, from its kitchens, farms and tourist resorts to its research laboratories and tech companies. In a global economy, Wisconsin looks much less international than even its neighbors. Compared to Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan, Wisconsin has a smaller share of foreign-born population and total labor force, as well as fewer foreign-born business owners” . . . read more