Following House Budget Approval, Business, Political Leaders, Immigration Reform Advocates, and Directly Impacted Individuals Discuss Next Steps in Push for Immigration Reform Through Budget Reconciliation
Link to video recording here: https://youtu.be/hzc0q06eH9I
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bipartisan political and business leaders, immigration reform advocates, and directly impacted individuals said during a press call on Wednesday that Congress must do what’s right for all Americans by passing proposed immigration reforms that will bring dignity to immigrants and stem the labor shortage that has stymied businesses.
During the call, sponsored by the bipartisan American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), the speakers noted that while the group pursued bipartisan immigration solutions, the best and most immediate legislative vehicle for getting them done is a process called reconciliation, which allows the reforms to be passed in the budget package by a simple majority vote in the House and Senate. ABIC has mounted a seven-figure Immigration Reform Now campaign to include pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) workers, essential workers, and farmworkers in the reconciliation bill slated for votes in the fall.
On the call were South Carolina Republican State Rep. Neal Collins; Bob Worsley, founder of SkyMall and former Republican member of the Arizona State Senate and an ABIC Co-Chair; Maria Antonieta Diaz, President, Venezuelan American Alliance and Founder and CEO, Global Business Solutions; Monica Lazaro, DACA Recipient and Program Manager, Dana FarberCancer Institute in Boston and Rovika Rajkishun, Deputy Director of ABIC.
“It is time to set aside politics and do what’s right for our economy and for families,” Rajkishun said, “This is morally right and economically crucial and, for me, it’s personal, as a formerly undocumented immigrant and currently a member of an extended mixed status family, some of whom have been living and working as contributing members of our country for more than 30 years.”
The Senate Parliamentarian must still rule whether the immigration provisions qualify for inclusion in the reconciliation measure. However, ABIC and other advocates maintain that the proposed immigration provisions are appropriate because they impact federal spending and revenues. Legalization and citizenship would boost economic activity by $121B a year, and federal, state, and local tax revenues would increase by $31 billion each year.
Advocates said that if the Parliamentarian rules against including immigration, they will continue pushing.
“We will not give up,” Worsley replied. “The needs for these reforms are too great, and members of Congress know that. So we will work with members on both sides of the aisle to find another vehicle for this legislation. They know it is the right thing to do; we just need to convince them that it also is the politically right thing to do. The country will not be better off if we do not achieve immigraton reform.”
Collins, the South Carolina GOP state lawmaker, described his county as “being the most conservative county in the most conservative state in the nation,” but he nonetheless has advanced state legislative initiatives that support Dreamers. “I would urge that (immigration) be a bipartisan issue. But for my conservative, like-minded colleagues, this can be a winning message for conservatives,” Collins advised.
Maria Antonieta Diaz, the President of the Venezuelan American Alliance and a business owner, said, “I know first-hand the relevance and impact of immigrants as business owners and also as part of our workforce….These workers are essential to the success of our businesses. Reconciliation is the best way now to get immigration reform and critical to growing the GDP, job creation, and raising the wage floor for all American workers.”
Monica Lazaro Davadi, the DACA recipient, said: “I urge Congress to make 2021 the year that we pass common sense immigration solutions that enable DACA recipients, TPS holders, and undocumented immigrants to stop living in fear and unleash all the potential we have to maximize contributions to this economy.”
Background information: THE AMERICAN BUSINESS IMMIGRATION COALITION LAUNCHES 7-FIGURE “IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN”
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.