There continues to be much conversation about immigration reform, or really, the lack thereof. There have been no big changes since last summer after a potential immigration reform bill stalled in the House. However, more and more individuals seem to be coming forward to help encourage Congress to move on immigration reform and pass some type of immigration reform legislation.
Recently, former Arizona Representative John Shadegg asked fellow Republicans who are currently in the House to “move forward with immigration legislation [because it] would benefit the economy and create jobs.”
Shadegg is part of the Bipartisan Policy Center's immigration task force and, in that capacity, met with other business leaders and policy experts during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce briefing in Washington, D.C. During the speeches, the presenters asked “Congress to act on stalled immigration legislation.” These leaders spoke about how new legislation would provide for a boost in the labor pool as well as other advantages.
For his part, Shadegg discussed how important it is for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. to be able to live more freely and “to get right with the law.” He went on to describe how the current immigration system has “failed to protect borders, . . . creating de facto amnesty for 11 million undocumented immigrants.”
In addition, other farm and business leaders at the meeting agreed that more people in the labor pool would only lead to an improved economy, not displace American workers. “The idea of immigration reform as a pathway to cheap labor is a myth,” said Mike Fernandez. Fernandez is an executive at Cargill. He also reminded the group that the world needs more talent, not less.
The president of “center-right” think tank, American Action Forum, Doug Holtz-Eakin went on to add that closing America's borders will subsequently lead to the country shrinking in the same manner that “Japan's economy has.” He reminded the group that individuals need to think about immigration reform “not just in terms of 2014, but as an investment in the next 10 to 20 years.”
Meanwhile, Shadegg said that he is against the bipartisan reform bill that was passed by the Senate last summer. Instead, he would prefer the House pass one of the bills that has already passed through committees. These bills contain “several steps for residency and penalties.” Shadegg went on to discuss states like Arizona, that hire a large number of undocumented immigrants because it can be difficult to find documented workers.
Shadegg also discussed the concern that some Republicans have about how Obama may “pick and choose parts of immigration law to enforce” and called that “just an excuse.” He said that immigration reform legislation is the responsibility of Congress. He noted that just about “four out of five Americans want some sort of reform. Legislators are elected to lead," he said.
What do you think of these comments by former Arizona Representative John Shadegg and the others? Will this make a difference in whether or not the country sees any immigration reform legislation still this year?