Los Angeles – As Congressmembers returned to the nation’s Capitol today following the summer recess, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Federation of Labor united to demand that House leaders put immigration reform with a path to citizenship at the top of their agenda for action. The news conference in Los Angeles was one of eleven across California, where a broad coalition of unusual allies including business, labor, civil rights and community groups called on house members to “Get back to work” on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that is critical to the nation’s economy.
"Fixing our broken immigration system is essential if California is to maintain its global leadership in agriculture, manufacturing, technology and services. Outdated restrictions and limitations have shut out tens of thousands of skilled workers, highly trained science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates and entrepreneurs from overseas," said Gary Toebben, President and CEO of the L.A. Area Chamber. "By ending the existence of a sub-class in our communities through a fair and attainable path to citizenship, we can bring 11 million aspiring citizens out of the shadows and into the light. In so doing, we will inject more than a trillion dollars into our economy over the next decade and increase revenue for critical government services."
At Monday’s event, the coalition released new data that shows immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship will provide a more than $3 billion annual boost to Los Angeles County’s economy and create an additional 40,000 local jobs by 2020, improving the real estate market, and supporting local businesses.
“Businesses and labor, Democrats and Republicans have come together with unprecedented unity and strength because the economic future of our families and our nation demands comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship,” said Maria Elena Durazo, Vice President of the national AFL-CIO Executive Council and Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “It’s time House leaders set aside the rhetoric and the scapegoating and get to work on real solutions that boost our economy and allow families to live in dignity.”
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation that would help local communities and our local economies flourish by drawing on the skills, talents, and economic input of every Californian. But House Republican leaders have so far ignored the strong majority of Americans, including both Republicans and Democrats, who support a comprehensive approach, refusing to bring a reform bill forward for a vote.
"This will be one of hottest Falls ever,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA As Congress returns to do the people's business on matters both domestic and international, we are ready by the tens of thousands to shake the tree and end with the status quo. Our community, in alliance with diverse sectors of our society, has done all that Congress asked of us in order to address immigration reform in 2013. We will not accept further delays due to political posturing by either party or a leadership deficit in the House. More than 11 million people must live trapped in the shadows of anonymity and disregard because our elected leaders cannot muster enough courage to do the right thing. Now is the time to remedy the wrong, be humane and just with aspiring citizens who work hard and want to contribute even more to their new home, and show the world we mean it when we say we are the land of the free and the brave. The time to reform immigration reform is now and we expect the House of Representatives to deliver immigration reform with a path to citizenship."
Reverend Walter Contreras, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, also joined Toebben, Durazo and Salas at the press conference Monday.
Statewide, more than 70 chambers of commerce, representing thousands of California companies, have endorsed comprehensive immigration reform. Locally, more than 150 businesses have signed a letter to Congress supporting immigration reform with a path to citizenship, noting the current system fails to provide stability for families and businesses alike. Many are displaying a poster to make their support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship visible.