Business Leaders Tell Lawmakers Not to Forget About Immigration

Julia Preston, New York Times, September 10, 2013

While Congress was preoccupied with Syria on Tuesday, more than 100 businesses, including some of the nation’s largest companies, sent a letter to leaders of the House of Representatives reminding them not to forget about immigration.

The letter—addressed to House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader—was signed by 110 human resource executives for technology and communications companies like Motorola Solutions, Verizon and AT&T. It was also signed by leaders from companies that have not been prominent players in the immigration debate up to now, including Procter & Gamble, CVS Caremark Corporation, American Express, Allstate Insurance, The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, American Airlines, 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company.

They called on the House to “enact legislation to fix the broken immigration system and work with the Senate to ensure that a bill is signed by the president this year.”


The companies said broad changes to the system would be “a long overdue step toward aligning our nation’s immigration policies with its work force needs at all skill levels to ensure U.S. global competitiveness.” While the companies said a comprehensive bill passed by the Senate in June is “not a perfect measure,” they said they support many ideas in that bill to bring in high-skilled foreign workers. They also called for new visa programs for lower-skilled workers and “a path to legal status” for immigrants in the country illegally.


The executives signed the letter by name, a variation from many business letters on the thorny issue of immigration, which are signed by companies but not individual corporate leaders.


Making the same point, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday re-issued a letter from late July that was signed by more than 450 companies and business groups. “Failure to act is not an option,” that letter said. It was posted in an advertisement on the Politico Web site telling Congress to “enact immigration reform now.”

[Editor’s Note: Neil Munro of the Daily Caller notes that several signatories have recently laid off thousands of workers.]

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