Business groups pushing immigration reform as necessary for America's future
Business organizations are lobbying congressmen during the recess to pass some kind of comprehensive immigration reform when they return in September.
Manufacturers and business leaders are spending the bulk of the August congressional recess canvassing the country, sitting down with lawmakers and chatting at local town-hall meetings to explain how fixing the immigration system is crucial to the nation's economic future.
Business groups want to see the House and Senate join forces -- as they have done with a diverse coalition of groups -- to push through an immigration package that streamlines the process and helps employers fill persistent openings for low- and high-skilled workers, while providing better border security.
"We believe strongly that fixing the immigration system makes for a healthier American economy and must attract individuals from around the world," said Matt Sonnesyn, director of research for the Business Roundtable.
"We are making sure we have the labor force needed, especially in the service industries, so as the economy gets cooking we're better able to maintain productivity."
The push for reform from business groups, while ongoing for much of the past decade, has ramped up this year with executives hawking their message during the August recess that inaction is not an option for Congress.
For example, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman attended a forum near his company's headquarters in Illinois and a top U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive is traveling through Indiana and Tennessee to engage on the issue. The National Association of Manufacturers has radio spots in seven key states, mostly through the Midwest.
"Pushing the House to act has been the Chamber's foremost goal during August, and will continue to be our goal when they return in September," said Chamber spokeswoman Blair Holmes.
"While members of Congress are in their districts we are making sure they hear from the business community."
The Chamber has approximately 70 meetings scheduled over recess and has gotten state and local chambers involved.
The community-by-community approach is generating blanket optimism among the business groups that Congress has the drive to scale the challenges on the immigration front.
In many ways, it is naive for businesses to think that the kind of immigration reform desired by the Democrats will fix anything. In fact, it is far more likely to make the problem of illegal immigration worse since the border security they also desire will look good on paper but not accomplish much.
The Democrats aren't interested in "streamlining" anything. Their goal is to cement a growing voting bloc to the Democratic party. Business leaders would do well to oppose efforts by the Democrats to supply de facto amnesty to illegals already here and support genuine reforms that would straighten out our broken immigration system and give us real border security measures that will stop the flood of illegals coming into the country.