On Tuesday, President Obama will meet at the White House with a number of labor leaders, business leaders and CEOs as part of his ongoing push for comprehensive immigration reform. The President will lay out how his plan for immigration reform in 2013 feeds into his larger goals for economic recovery, job growth and international competitiveness. Throughout the next few weeks and months, Obama and his aides are expected to be engaged in a major lobbying effort to garner support for his immigration plan. A major piece of this seems to be convincing leaders in business and industry that the President’s plan makes good business sense.
Since the economic downturn began in 2008, many business leaders have been pushing for immigration reform as critical to the future success of U.S. industry. At the forefront of this push has been the Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan coalition of mayors and business leaders tasked with raising awareness of the economic benefits of fair, sensible immigration reform. Several of the principles long espoused by the PNAE have now found their way into President Obama’s recently announced three pillars of immigration reform, including the need to secure U.S. borders, establish a path to citizenship for those immigrants already here and generally reform the current legal U.S. immigration system.
“More than 500 CEOs and mayors from the Partnership for a New American Economy have spent three years making the case that modernizing our immigration system is not only good economics, but also good politics,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Co-Chair of PNAE in a statement on recent efforts in Washington to push forward comprehensive immigration reform. “The Partnership was founded in 2010 to make the economic case that immigration reform will help grow the economy and create new American jobs.”
According to Bloomberg and the PNAE, immigrants are disproportionately responsible for new business growth in the United States, including many businesses that have become our nation’s greatest and largest companies. Foreign born workers are particularly vital to U.S. industry in the fields of science, technology, math and engineering, where there is often a dearth of qualified, available, native-born workers. According to PNAE research, for every foreign born graduate of a U.S. university in a STEM field who chooses to stay and work in this country, 2.62 jobs are created for U.S.-American workers. In addition, immigrants are responsible for a disproportionate percentage of U.S. patents. Finally, the fact that immigrants make up a diverse and dynamic workforce means that they can fill positions in a variety of fields at varying skill and income levels, filling an important niche in U.S. society.
The torch has now been passed to Obama as it will be his role to convince business leaders that these facts make passing immigration reform an economic necessity for this nation.