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32 AZ Business / Civic Leaders to Sens. Sinema and Kelly: Immigration Reform Now: We Cannot Afford to Wait

Letter to Senators to fight for immigration in reconciliation, cites recent ABIC poll showing Trump voters support for immigration reform

PHOENIX, AZ — An open letter signed by 32 Arizona civic and business leaders calls on Grand Canyon State Sens.  Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to “champion pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, farmworkers, and essential workers, whether within any reconciliation bill that moves forward or by other means that achieve the same goal.”

The letter, organized by the Intermountain chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) and led by former Republican State Sen. Bob Worsley, Founder of SkyMall and ABIC Co-Chair, states the urgency of the plea based on the state’s acute labor shortage, and because it is “morally right, and politically smart.”

Highlighting the economic contributions of immigration for the state, the letter noted: “In Arizona, we value immigrants as workers, neighbors, and fellow human beings worthy of dignity and respect. They work hard, pay taxes, and contribute to our state’s economy. The household income of Arizona’s undocumented immigrants is $5.1 billion per year, they pay $556.5 million in taxes each year, and their total spending power is $4.5 billion annually. They are Arizonans and Americans in every way, except paperwork.”

The message to Arizona’s senators, both Democrats, included findings from a recent ABIC poll fielded by Democratic and Republican pollsters, which showed four out of five Arizona voters support a pathway to earned citizenship for these immigrants within the reconciliation bill. Nationally, the poll showed a 3-to-1 margin of support for passage of immigration reforms. In Arizona, the support included a majority of Trump supporters, with 61%, 58% and 50% of 2020 Trump voters backing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, farmworkers and essential workers, respectively.

“The Senate Parliamentarian ruled that the citizenship proposal could not be included in the budget bill, but we are not giving up,”  John W. Graham, Chairman, & CEO of Sunbelt Holdings said. “ABIC and immigration reform advocates continue to urge the Senate to explore all options for legalizing the status of undocumented immigrants, including workers who help sustain our economy. We need to get this done, by whatever means necessary.”

“The time for immigration reform is now and Senators Sinema and Kelly are key to its success,” Worsley said, “The urgency is clear, the benefits are undeniable, the legislative vehicle is on the table and even Trump voters support action.  We cannot let this opportunity slip away.  Our nation can’t afford it and neither can Arizona.” 

In addition to Worsley, the signatories include: John W. Graham, Chairman, & CEO of Sunbelt Holdings; Steven R Chanen, President & CEO, Chanen Construction Company, Inc.; Rich Dozer, Retired President, Arizona Diamondbacks; Michael Kasser, Founder & Chairman, Holualoa Companies; Philip L. Francis, Former Chairman & CEO, PetSmart; 

Carole Segal, Co-Founder, Crate and Barrel; Mike Fernandez, Chairman & CEO, MBF Healthcare Partners and ABIC Co-Chair; Paul Rockower, Executive Director JCRC, Greater Phoenix; Adam Goodman, CEO, Goodmans Interior Structures; Tom Kelly, Former CEO, Aetna Medicaid; John M. Fanning, SCV35 Community Outreach Coordinator & Retired Principal; Donald Schon, MD, FACP; Stephanie Parra, Executive Director, ALL In Education; Steven G. Zylstra, President & CEO of the Arizona Technology Council; Tamora Muir; Liza Montiel, City of Nogales Councilwoman; Susan Udall; David Adame, President & Chief Executive Officer, Chicanos Por La Causa, (CPLC); Joseph Garcia, Director of Public Policy, Chicanos Por La Causa, (CPLC); 

Michael Trailor, Chief Strategy Officer Native American Connections; Reyna Montoya, Founder & CEO, Aliento; Doug Pruitt, Retired President & CEO, Sundt Construction; Jose D Dabdoub, Industrial Broker, Cushman and Wakefield; Kimber Lanning, CEO, Local First Arizona; Sean Goslar, Regional Manager – Immigration Services, Chicanos Por La Causa, (CPLC); Lucia Fakonas Howard, Esq.; Irayda Flores, Owner, Pescaderia el Puerto de Guaymas; Rabbi John A. Linder, Clergy Co-Chair, Arizona Interfaith Network; Rev. Martha Seaman, Clergy Co-Chair, Arizona Interfaith Network; John Giles, Mesa, Arizona Mayor; and Diana Corrales, Real Estate Broker and President of the Santa Cruz County Board of Realtors.

The letter can be read here.