Latino Business Leaders Headlined Summit Urging Carolinas Senators to Pass Bipartisan Immigration Solutions

Link to recording here: https://bit.ly/3o9CIZn

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA — Latino business, civic and faith leaders from the Carolinas held a virtual summit today to urge North and South Carolina Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) to pass bipartisan immigration solutions at an event titled Adelante Carolinas: Latino Businesses for Bipartisan Immigration Solutions – the Dream Act, the SECURE Act, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021, and Essential Workers.

For a link to the recording, click here. See quotes below.

Following the event, business leaders will reach out to all four Senators to ask them to support bipartisan immigration solutions. They will also work to recruit 500 business and education leaders from the Carolinas, asking them to add their name to a letter urging the U.S. Senate to pass the bipartisan Dream Act of 2021.

Passing bipartisan immigration solutions including the Durbin-Graham Dream Act of 2021, the SECURE Act, and the Crapo-Bennett Farm Workforce Modernization Act is crucial to helping the region rebuild and recover from the pandemic. Failure to pass these critical reforms will hurt the recovery and small businesses throughout the Carolinas. 

The Carolinas are home to 1.1 million immigrants whose work powers key industries including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, tech, hospitality, tourism and healthcare. Immigrants in the Carolinas have a combined spending power of $28.8 billion and contribute $10.3 billion in federal and state taxes. Many of them are Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders, farmworkers and essential workers. 

Latinos in the Carolinas are one of the fastest growing electoral groups in the country, with a 70 percent increase in voter participation from 2016 to 2020 in North Carolina alone. The New York Times recently reported Senator Thom Tillis is “guardedly optimistic” about the possibility of a successful deal including a path to citizenship for Dreamers. 

Yahel Flores, Director of the Carolinas Chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), said: “This is the moment for our Senators in the Carolinas to support common sense, bipartisan immigration solutions. We are excited to see the outpouring of support from the business, civic and faith community that understand that fixing our immigration system is economically important and morally right. We will now look to meet with all four Senators to ensure that they hear us loud and clear: We need immigration reform now.”

Gris Bailey, President and CEO, Latin American Chamber of Commerce Charlotte (LACCC), said: “We are asking our four Carolinas Senators to seize the urgency of this moment and take action on bipartisan immigration solutions like the Durbin-Graham Dream Act of 2021. Failure to pass these critical reforms will kneecap our recovery, hurt small business, and stunt our economic growth. ¡Es Tiempo!” 

Bert Lemkes, General Manager of Tri-Hishtil and a member of AmericanHort said: “The agricultural workers who are feeding America, and their families, should not have to live in fear. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act that passed the House is a solid foundation. We call on our Carolinas Senators to engage with  their colleagues and build on that foundation to shape and pass a law providing for a more stable farm labor force and greater food safety and security to the benefit of all Americans.”

Evelyn Lugo, President, South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: “Immigrants are helping South Carolina meet its growing demand for healthcare workers, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Immigrants are helping to fill critical teacher shortages across the state and playing essential roles as social workers and behavioral health providers, with demand spiking due in part to the pandemic. I am calling on my home state senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham – seize the moment. The time is now. Recognize my community’s many contributions to our state, our communities and our economy. Take immediate action to support the bipartisan immigration solutions before you – including the Dream Act of 2021 that you yourself introduced, Senator Graham.”

Isabela Luján, Co-Founder, Latin American Business Council, said: “I am a Venezuelan Immigrant. I arrived in this country 4 years ago, with my heart and my soul broken. I never thought I was going to come to America due to violence, harassment and social unrest in my own country. With my brothers and sisters from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, we, Venezuelans, are now TPS holders. I am calling on you, North and South Carolina Senators Thom Tillis, Richard Burr, Tim Scott and Lindsay Graham: meet this moment, cosponsor the SECURE Act. Show me that you care about the predicament facing my Venezuelan community and other TPS recipients throughout the United States.”

ABOUT

The Carolinas Chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes sensible immigration reform that supports the economy of the Carolinas by providing American 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. 

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