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The Real Issue: The American Economy Needs Immigration Reform

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From Farm Workers to Corporate Leaders, a Growing Urgency for Reform to Help Economy

Washington, DC – While Washington continues to substitute tough talk on immigration enforcement for real progress on immigration solutions, several developments are re-focusing the immigration debate onto the economic necessity of passing immigration reform. 

Yesterday, a new organization of major corporate CEOs and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced its formation and mission to raise awareness about the economic benefits of immigration and the need for comprehensive reform.  The coalition, called the Partnership for a New American Economy, “seeks to reframe immigration reform as the solution to repairing and stimulating the economy.”  As Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO and coalition member Robert Iger said about immigration, “It’s our great strength as a nation, and it’s also critical for continued economic growth.  To remain competitive in the 21st century, we need effective immigration reform that invites people to contribute to our shared success by building their own American dream.” 

Also this week, the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) announced its new “Take Our Jobs” campaign, which will help shine a spotlight on the importance of immigrant workers to our food supply and the difficulties agricultural employers have in maintaining a stable, legal workforce.  Without the overlooked contributions of immigrant labor to U.S. agriculture, the food on our plates and in our grocery aisles would be less plentiful and more expensive – as UFW highlights on the campaign website, “We are a nation in denial about our food supply.”  Through the campaign, UFW will make farm workers available to train citizens and legal residents who wish to replace them in the field and will help connect the American unemployed with farm employers with labor needs.  The “Take Our Jobs” campaign will officially launch on a telephonic conference call today at 1:30 Eastern and will include an appearance on the Colbert Report, scheduled to tape on July 8th. 

“With Arizona enacting un-American and unconstitutional laws and Republicans churning out border security talking points for political security purposes, leaders associated with economic growth at the high end and the low end of the economy are asserting that American competitiveness is directly related to immigration reform,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.  “The Bloomberg coalition and the UFW “Take Our Jobs” initiative courageously challenge tired canards and aggressively prod national leaders to step up and take effective action.”      

Said Sharry, “Border security is one part of a larger immigration fix, but by itself is simply a reaffirmation of the failed status quo.  Instead of politically-driven tough talk, we need actual solutions like the CIR ASAP legislation introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL).  This legislation, which will celebrate its 100th co-sponsor today, is both principled and practical in its solutions for the broken immigration system and lays out a compelling vision of an immigration system that works for all Americans.  The Gutierrez bill also represents the type of solution envisioned by the corporate and farm worker leaders who are providing a needed reminder about the economic need to get immigration policy right.” 

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.