On Thursday, with a strong bipartisan vote, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system. President Obama congratulated the passage of the Senate’s bill, which is largely consistent with the President’s key principles for commonsense reform. The bill continues to secure our borders; ensures that every worker and employer is held accountable, plays by the same rules and pays taxes like everyone else; establishes a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants; and modernizes the legal immigration system. The Senate’s passage of the bill was immediately met with support from bipartisan leaders and a broad spectrum of groups across the country – from Democrats to Republicans, business to labor leaders and clergy. Here’s a look into what they are saying:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce | Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO
“Today the U.S. Senate took a major step forward in fixing America’s broken immigration system, securing our border, strengthening our economy and competitiveness, and reaffirming America’s legacy as an open and welcoming society. We commend the Gang of Eight for their leadership and applaud the bipartisan cooperation that made the bill’s passage possible.
“We are pleased that the House is making its own progress. We recognize that the House will take a different approach on many components of reform and hope these differences can be reasonably resolved so that sound legislation can be sent to the president for approval. We will continue to work with all parties to help move this process forward. LINK
Small Business Majority | John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO
“The Senate’s passage of the ‘Gang of Eight’s” bipartisan immigration legislation is great news for small business owners looking for intelligent fixes to our broken immigration system. While not perfect, the bill is full of provisions small employers strongly support and believe would help their businesses and our economy.
“Everyone benefits when we encourage hard-working immigrants to bring their skillsets to the U.S. and let previously undocumented immigrants legally join our workforce, pay taxes and contribute in a meaningful way to our economy..” LINK
National Association of Manufactures | Doug Oberhelman, Chairman of the NAM Board of Directors and Caterpillar Chairman and CEO & Jay Timmons, NAM President and CEO
“It is critical that we have an immigration system that reflects the needs of our modern economy,” said Caterpillar Chairman and CEO and Chairman of the NAM Board of Directors Doug Oberhelman. “The benefits of reform—a lower deficit, bolstered economic growth, a skilled workforce and a renewed commitment to the principles that built America—are clear. At each step of this process, the NAM and manufacturers will work with Congress to ensure that reform becomes a reality.”
“Comprehensive immigration reform represents a simple question: Do we want the next generation of innovation and life-altering ideas to originate in America, or are we content to allow other nations to surpass us?” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Today’s Senate passage is evidence that bipartisanship can still be found in Washington, D.C., and manufacturers are grateful to the senators who came together to lead on this critical issue. However, there is still work to be done. The House of Representatives must take a page from the Senate and work together to pass comprehensive reform.” LINK
Financial Services Forum | Rob Nichols, President and CEO
“We are encouraged by the progress U.S. policymakers have made toward achieving comprehensive immigration reform today. A much-needed update of U.S. immigration policies will help strengthen our national security, increase our economic growth and international competitiveness, and attract and retain the best talent to the United States. We are hopeful the House will work to produce an immigration plan that meets the goals of increasing U.S. economic and job growth and promoting future innovation here in America. LINK
Facebook | Mark Zuckerberg, CEO
“While immigration is important for our economic future, it is also fundamentally an issue of who we are as people,” Zuckerberg wrote in a status update on his Facebook page. “While a lot work remains to be done before reform becomes law, today’s vote showed that Senators from across the political spectrum came together in a bipartisan way to vote for reform that will move our economy forward and honor our history as a nation of immigrants.”
Pat Quinn, Governor, IL (D)
“Immigration reform is not only the right thing to do. It will also stimulate Illinois’ economy over the next 10 years by creating an estimated 4,400 new jobs annually and generating $1.6 billion in additional taxes from immigrants to state coffers. It will send a signal that the people of the United States embrace the freedom-seekers and entrepreneurs who wish only for a shot at the American Dream and a chance to contribute. As governor of one of the nation’s most immigrant-friendly states, I call on the U.S. House of Representatives to act quickly to pass this legislation.” LINK