CHICAGO – Today, Illinois Republican leaders, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich joined over 300 Latino and Asian business owners, CEO’s of Illinois-based companied and tech entrepreneurs from the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition to call on Congress – House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – to approve immigration reform that includes visa expansion for high skill, low skill and agricultural workers, and a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants.
While immigration legislations continues to stall on Capitol Hill, top GOP lawmakers from the Land of Lincoln including Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sen. Mark Kirk, and Reps. Aaron Schock, Adam Kinzinger and Bob Dold, revive their call for immigration reform. The event, hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, is aimed at moving the GOP beyond their furor over President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions and toward legislative actions to advance Illinois economy and keep families together.
“We urge action by the House and Senate, along the lines Speaker John Boehner outlined last year, to strengthen our economy, keep families together, and make America safer at the same time. Our economy needs immigration reform and our consciences demand it,” said John Rowe, Co-Chair of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition and Exelon Chairman Emeritus.
“Comprehensive immigration reform is imperative to ensuring the 525,000 people in Illinois can come out of the shadows, put down permanent roots and invest in Illinois. The way to base their rights and privileges is to lock them in with an actual statute that respects them as future Americans and allows them to keep families together permanently,” said US Senator Mark Kirk.
“Comprehensive immigration reform is not just about rights of individuals but the good of families, and because it is about the good of families, it is about the good of neighborhoods and cities. It is also not just about the people who are undocumented but the moral values of a nation,” said Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich.
“Immigration has helped make America the greatest country on earth,” Gov. Rauner said. “I strongly support comprehensive immigration reform. Expanding legal immigration can strengthen our economy here in Illinois and throughout the United States.”
“Commonsense, bipartisan immigration reform will strengthen our communities, grow our economy and end the practice of dividing immigrant families who seek nothing more than to contribute to our country. I am committed to continuing my strong and vocal advocacy for bipartisan immigration reform in Washington and I commend the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition for its dedication to this important cause here in Illinois,” said Congressman Bob Dold
“Immigration reform is not about taking jobs from U.S. workers,” Todd Maisch, CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and IBIC co-chair said, “In fact, it leads to hiring more U.S. workers as businesses grow. Immigrant workers are job generators themselves. They have a job multiplier effect. So if our goal is to grow a dynamic environment for businesses to be created, grow and thrive, we need to pass immigration reform.”
“Pork and dairy producers, fruit and vegetable growers and farmers who raise seed corn in Illinois all rely heavily on an undocumented immigrant workforce. These farmers want to play by the rules, but simply don’t have access to a legal workforce,” said Rich Guebert Jr., President of the Illinois Farm Bureau, ” While there’s no question mandatory electronic verification (E-verify) has its place in comprehensive immigration reform, standalone E-verify – without any legislation to that would provide farmers access to a legal current workforce and a new temporary worker program – would damage the ability of farmers to hire an experienced, capable and legal workforce.”
“It is fitting the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition met at Saint Ignatius College Prep. In the decade of the Civil War, our school was founded by an immigrant from Holland, Jesuit Father Arnold Damen, SJ, to help immigrants find their way as Americans. The disagreements around immigration in Chicago are not new. Perhaps the greatest challenge is whether we can convince ourselves that, with God’s grace, we do indeed have the intelligence, compassion, and fortitude to see our current situation as an opportunity for growth and strength,” said Father Michael Caruso, President of Saint Ignatius College Prep.
Immigration reform will help jumpstart the Illinois economy. According to the American Action Network, immigration reform would create 105,923 jobs in Illinois and boost the state’s economic output by $1.8 billion. Nationally, it would bolster the country’s economic growth by 4.8% over the next 20 years and reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion.
Mass deportation could cost the US economy $2.6 trillion. If every unauthorized immigrant were removed from Illinois, the state would lose $25.6 billion in economic activity, $11.4 billion in gross state product, and approximately 119,214 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group. It would cost the government $20-25 billion to deport the 4-5 million undocumented workers who would benefit from Obama’s most recent executive order.
In the coming months, IBIC will continue to work with business and political to push for common sense immigration reform. For more information please visit www.illinoisbic.biz.