Heads of Latino Chamber Groups and Other Business Leaders Urge Inclusion of Immigration Reform Within Budget Reconciliation as Part of ABIC’s 7-figure Bipartisan Campaign

RECORDING of event: https://youtu.be/kzcSzoc3AxE

Charlotte, NC – Latino chamber groups and other business executives on Tuesday called on Congress to approve pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, farmworkers, and essential workers and unleash the economic potential these common sense immigration solutions would bring to North Carolina.

Congressional leaders are poised to include pathways to citizenship for these populations in the upcoming budget reconciliation bill. The bipartisan American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), which includes the Carolinas chapter, is waging a seven-figure campaign to support the legislative strategy. “Today’s event is the North Carolina launch of ABIC’s multi-state, multi-faceted, seven-figure campaign to push the decades-long effort to reform our nation’s broken immigration system over the finish line in the fall when budget reconciliation legislation is planned for debate,” said Yahel Flores, State Director of the Carolinas chapter of ABIC. “Immigration solutions belong in the budget legislation because they will create jobs, boost the economy, ease the labor shortage, positively impact the federal budget, and support families.” 

ABIC held dozens of meetings with key members of Congress, including 41 Republican senators, and over 50 public events to promote bipartisan solutions. But with the bipartisan bills indefinitely stalled, the only vehicle forward at this time is the budget reconciliation process.

Like many states across the nation, North Carolina is facing worker shortages. At the same time, immigrants without legal status have a spending power totaling $5.9 billion and pay almost $722 million in taxes annually. Immigration advocates are determined to win the policy battle to provide stability to immigrant workers, their families, and the employers and businesses who depend on them.

Highlights of the speakers’ remarks follow:

Martin Eakes, CEO, Self-Help/Center for Responsible Lending, ABIC and ABIC Carolinas Co-Chair: 

“Immigration provisions belong in the reconciliation because these groups – Dreamers, TPS holders and farmworkers – dramatically impact federal spending and revenues, which is the test for whether an item can be included in the reconciliation process. The solutions for these groups will add $121 million in economic activity and more than $31 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues each and every single year… We simply cannot afford to leave our businesses, our communities, and families in a broken state of disrepair. It’s time to act right now, and the reconciliation process is our best chance to move forward.”

Gris Bailey, President and CEO, Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte and Co-Chair of ABIC Carolinas Chapter: 

“We’ve seen that a lot of businesses here in Charlotte and nationwide have suffered through the pandemic, have suffered a lot of hardships, in particular, looking for employees. There is no shortage of jobs, but there is a labor shortage… Undocumented immigrants are already contributing to our economy. Providing permanence and getting them on a path to citizenship would unleash their economic potential and ease our nation’s acute labor shortage…This is not just a moral issue; it’s an economic one, and in a state like North Carolina, where the Latino population has grown 52 percent in the last decade, this is an issue we can no longer ignore.”

Isabela Lujan, Co-founder, Latin American Business Council of the Wilmington, NC Chamber of Commerce: “The United States of America needs immigration reform now. Today I’m here to remind you that immigrants without legal status pay almost $722 million in taxes here in North Carolina. And while a lot of you are desperate, trying to find people who are willing to work, there are thousands like me waiting for the opportunity…The rules state that reconciliation can be used for measures that impact federal spending, revenue and the federal debt limit, and immigration fits right in…Immigration has previously been included in reconciliation. This happened in 2005 with a Republican-controlled Senate.”

Miriam G. Espaillat MSW, Director, Community Engagement for Raydal Hospitality LLC: “We currently have 22 restaurants that we have grown since 2010. We employ over 250 employees, and in 2020 we paid over $1 million in federal, state, and local taxes. The workforce crisis has impacted us in a great way… Restaurant employees are essential workers so they do face the constant fear and threat of being infected by COVID. My parents immigrated to the U.S. in the eighties as undocumented immigrants. I was left behind in El Salvador with my siblings and my grandparents during a time of war. It took my parents six years to be able to get their documents to bring us to the U.S. My mom was sponsored by her employer… The opportunities that have been created for me have been because of my parents’ sacrifice and the pathways they found. It is time to recognize that DACA recipients and TPS recipients are contributing to the local economy. They are paying taxes. They are innovators. They are entrepreneurs and people who are thriving in our community.”

ABOUT 

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.  

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