Bipartisan Business and Political Leaders Urge AZ Senators to Include Immigration Reform Within Budget Reconciliation
PHOENIX, AZ — In a state where more than 972,000 immigrants — one-fourth of them without documents — pay an estimated $7.7 billion in taxes each year, a bipartisan group of business and political leaders that included an immigrant businesswoman and Republican State Representative Michelle Udall on Thursday called on Arizona Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to support pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, farmworkers, essential workers and Temporary Protected Status permit holders.
The press conference was sponsored by the American Business Immigration Coalition, which is waging a seven-figure campaign to include immigration reform in the budget reconciliation package scheduled for a vote in the fall. After holding 41 meetings with Republican senators and 48 bipartisan events to forge a compromise, ABIC determined that bipartisan bills are indefinitely stalled and the only vehicle is the budget reconciliation process.
With immigration reforms proposed for passage as part of next month’s budget reconciliation process, which would allow the bill to be passed by a simple majority in the House and Senate, the advocates said they are determined to win the policy battle to provide dignity to immigrant workers and their families, and a workforce unbridled by the threat of deportation to the businesses that employ them.
In Arizona, the state once considered “ground zero” for the anti-immigrant movement, State Rep. Udall (R-Dist. 25), noted her sponsorship of an initiative that will appear on the 2022 Arizona election ballot that would allow DACA recipients to pay in-state college tuition to dramatically reduce their costs.
“Here in Arizona, we have already demonstrated that it’s possible to take bipartisan steps to fix a broken system,” the Republican state lawmaker said, as she called for federal immigration solutions that are “economically smart and morally right.”
Udall added, “I’m doing what I can in my state. I’m looking to my Senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to help lead the way in Congress so that we can finally pass common sense immigration solutions.”
The following are additional highlights from the press conference:
Tom Kelly, former Head of Aetna Medicaid who also called on Sens. Sinema and Kelly to help push the inmigration reforms: “Economically, this just makes sense. I worked for 45 years in the health care sector, seeing first hand how crucial immigrant workers are at every level in health care, not just cafeteria and custodians, security personnel and assistants, but doctors, nurses and lots of specialist professionals. They have always been crucial and without immigrants in the health care sector workforce, our health care systems today would simply collapse.”
Bob Worsley, founder of SkyMall and former Republican member of the Arizona State Senate and ABIC Board Co-Chair: “I urge Sens. Kelly and Sinema, as a Republican, a person of faith and a businessman, that they vote for and support common sense immigration solutions, offering a path to citizenship or at least irrevocable legal status for Dreamers, TPS recipients, farmworkers and essential workers through reconciliation.”
Irayda Flores, AZ Hispanic Civic and Business Leader and seafood importer and distributor: “I am now in danger of getting an order of deportation which will mean losing business, laying off my 15 employees and being separated from my U.S. citizen daughters. (My current status) also means that I am unable to travel to Mexico to take on new ventures that would allow me to expand my business. If I were able to travel, I would be able to create eight new jobs for Arizonans tomorrow.”
Enrique Sanchez, Intermountain State Director, ABIC: “Since I was eight years old, I dreamt of joining law enforcement. I was disappointed to learn that because of my immigration status, I am barred from becoming a police officer. A pathway to citizenship currently in the reconciliation bill, would remove barriers that stand in mine, and many other Dreamers’ way, of achieving our dreams.”
The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens. ABIC is active in key states and communities across the country engaging activists, advocates, business leaders and elected officials on the urgency of passing immigration reform that boosts our economy, creates jobs, eases the labor shortage and supports families.