NEW YORK, Aug. 3, 2016 – Today, the Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE) released 51 new economic research reports (one for every state plus Washington DC) and launched the Reason for Reform campaign to showcase how immigration impacts local communities all across America and the urgency of modernizing our immigration system. The research was co-sponsored by Intel, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, Brad Feld, Google, Microsoft, Pinterest, the Western Growers Association, Council for Global Immigration, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the United Fresh Produce Association, and the Society for Human Resource Management and released at 62 events across all 50 states that featured local business, agriculture, faith, manufacturing, tech, and other leaders. Check out all of the reports and see a list of events.
“Our current immigration system isn’t designed to allow anyone looking to create the next billion-dollar startup the ability to easily do so in America,” said Venture Capitalist Brad Feld. “We’re losing this talent to our global competition, which is why I am supporting NAE’s Reason for Reform campaign.”
“Every time immigration becomes a political ping-pong ball, what gets lost are the real, human stories about immigrants making contributions to America every day,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “Together, those stories and the data make a compelling case: not only do Americans want immigration reform, our economy needs it.”
“We have always been a nation of immigrants, a country built by people coming to work hard and build a better life,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “Today, America’s farmers face a real crisis because that tradition is in danger. We need a reliable workforce to tend our crops and harvest them on time, but we can’t find enough workers to meet the nation’s needs. Worker shortages have placed our nation’s food supply at risk. Increasing immigration enforcement will cost the country $60 billion in agricultural production unless we do something now about increasing the supply of guest workers. We cannot let this nation’s harvest rot in the fields.”
“The employers our members represent still can’t find the workers they need to fill jobs for which there aren’t enough willing and able Americans,” said Tamar Jacoby, Co-Chair of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition and President of ImmigrationWorks USA. “We need immigration reform so employers can hire immigrants easily, safely and legally, keeping their companies growing and contributing to the economy.”
“This campaign is a powerful reminder that there is a broad coalition, from every sector of our economy and every state in the country, that supports sensible immigration reform,” said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director, the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “The reports released today offer further evidence that support for immigration is rooted in the desire to create an immigration system that reflects American values and results in economic growth and opportunity for us all.”
“Farming is difficult and challenging as it is,” said Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President for Public Policy at United Fresh Produce Association. “Even without the constant struggle to maintain a qualified workforce, producers face many obstacles to getting an abundant supply of nutritious fruits and vegetables to consumers. To meet the nutritional needs of the American people, immigration reform is essential and we’ll continue to fight for it. The data in these reports really helps to illustrate how much reform is needed.”
“The heated debate surrounding immigration issues is continually characterized by distortions of the truth, “ said Randel K. Johnson, Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This study will complement in new ways the already overwhelming amount of data that demonstrates that immigration is a net benefit to the United States, underpinning arguments for reform as we move into 2017.”
“Regardless of the rhetoric this political season, a working immigration system is foundational to the economic health of American farmers, rural communities and the broader U.S. economy. As these new state reports demonstrate, our local, state and national leaders must move beyond political posturing and work to make immigration reform a reality in 2017,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. “As part of any common sense plan, provisions granting legal status to existing farm workers and creating a new, more workable and market-oriented visa program to ensure a future flow of labor for American agriculture should be included.”
“These reports are evidence that decades of inaction on immigration reform have held back America’s economic growth. The Administration and Congress must work with employers on bipartisan solutions to fill existing skills gaps and build a 21st century workforce that draws on both domestic and foreign talent, ” said Lynn Shotwell, Executive Director of the Council for Global Immigration.
“U.S. employers make every effort to hire a legal, authorized workforce. However, concerns remain about an effective employment verification process, which immigration reform must address,” said Mile Aitken, Vice President, Goverment Affairs of the Society for Human Resource Management.
Today also marks the launch of NAE’s new digital tool that lets users make a video telling their own Reason for Reform and send it directly to Congress. Participants can share their stories on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ReasonForReform. Check out the tool here.
The videos collected via Reason for Reform will also be featured in a forthcoming interactive with state- and district-level data and written testimonials. Members of Congress, journalists, and elected officials will be able to use the interactive to find the countless personal and data-driven reasons for immigration reform in all 435 congressional districts in the United States.
Learn more at www.ReasonForReform.org