[RECORDING] Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) Briefs Business Leaders and Immigration Advocates on Immigration Reform and Budget Reconciliation
Menendez shared strategic advice during ABIC-led session with civic and business leaders ahead of today’s White House meeting between President Biden and key congressional Democrats
Video of the event is available here: https://bit.ly/3i9lcTB
WASHINGTON, DC — Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) briefed dozens of immigration advocates, including members of the business, faith, higher education, and immigrants’ rights groups on immigration reform and budget reconciliation.
“The parliamentarian of the Senate ultimately has the final decision” regarding inserting immigration reform in the reconciliation package, Sen. Menendez said. “But I know that she must read articles, see TV, and listen to the radio, just like anybody else. And the case that the reform will have an economic impact of significant positive elements is ripe for reconciliation under the budget,” Menendez said.
Menendez spoke to the group during a discussion organized by the American Business Immigration Coalition in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, New American Economy, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, CASA, Casa de Venezuela, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Immigration Hub, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), UNITE HERE, SEIU, United Farm Workers (UFW), and United Farm Workers Foundation.
ABIC, a bipartisan coalition that includes top business leaders in support of immigration reform, supports legalization through bipartisan legislation or reconciliation.
A legislative solution is all the more urgent given the recent ruling by a Texas federal district court that declared DACA unlawful and closed the program to future applicants, exacerbating labor shortages for businesses across the country and throwing Dreamers’ lives in limbo.
During the discussion, Sen. Menendez noted that numerous efforts to craft bipartisan legislation, including about a dozen meetings with senators from both sides of the political aisle, had not succeeded, and reconciliation was the best and only option available for immigration reform.
“We need each and every one of you to support us in amplifying one critical message: The time is now. Inaction is not an option. We need business leaders to trumpet the economic gains made possible by economic reforms; we need faith leaders to make the moral case for standing with our immigration brothers and sisters who are as American as you and me except on paper; we need advocacy groups and members of the undocumented community to continue telling their stories. These next several weeks are critical,” the senator emphasized.
Menendez and key Senate and House members leading the immigration discussions were scheduled to meet later in the day with President Biden at the White House.
The following comments highlighted the briefing:
Luis Gutierrez, former IL Democratic Congressman and ABIC board member, said: “We know we are going to win. We know the American people are going to win. To me this is really a political equation. Do we have the political will to use everything in our arsenal — every tool in our arsenal — and to eliminate roadblocks that unnecessarily stop the immigrant community from achieving the justice and the fairness that they so deserve?”
Bob Worsley, ABIC co-chair, founder of Sky Mall, and former AZ Republican state Senator, said: “Any bipartisan traction that we had seems to have been lost. Our preference is bipartisanship. But absent Republican good faith efforts, we urge Democrats to do everything they can to legalize hard-working immigrants through budget reconciliation. Our economy has 3.1 million unfilled jobs; employers need workers. Our workers deserve dignity. 72% of American voters support common sense solutions.”
Rebecca Shi, Executive Director, American Business Immigration Coalition, said: “Our goal is federal immigration reform that grows the economy, spurs job creation, and keeps families together.”
Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, said: “The over 500 college and university presidents and chancellors the Presidents’ Alliance represents commends today’s reiteration of the commitment to securing permanent relief for Dreamers by Senator Menendez and all our partners. Campuses and institutions of higher education stand ready to support their students, whether on campus or in the halls of Congress. Put simply, an investment of permanent status for our undocumented and DACAmented students is an investment in our nation’s future prosperity and economic success.”
Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition, said: “With 70% of Americans supporting a pathway to citizenship, Congress not only has a mandate, but a responsibility to bypass the political gridlock and deliver on a promise three decades in the making. Success will not only mean relief for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers and essential workers, but will also prove vital to America’s economic recovery. Whether via bipartisan legislation or budget reconciliation, the message from voters is clear; fix the broken immigration system. The New York Immigration Coalition is proud to stand with the American Business Immigration Coalition and Senator Bob Menendez in demanding a pathway to citizenship.”
Avideh Moussavian, director of federal advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center, said, “We have a crucial opportunity to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who call the U.S. home, including more than 5 million essential workers who are helping to get us through the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress must deliver a pathway to citizenship this year through reconciliation. With overwhelming public support, growing momentum, and the added urgency resulting from the recent court decision that threw the future of DACA and immigrant youth into uncertainty, we can’t wait any longer.”
Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of New American Economy, said, “Immigrants are essential to America’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic — as the doctors and nurses caring for our family members, the farmworkers keeping our food supply chain in tact, the scientists and engineers behind life-saving vaccine production, and in so many other ways. We applaud Sen. Menendez’s continued leadership on immigration reform, and urge Congress to act swiftly to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, essential workers, farmworkers, and the 11 million undocumented.”
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.