Ms. Lea Márquez Peterson is the President and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber. She also writes a monthly column that appears in Inside Tucson Business. In one of her most recent articles, she talked about a trip she made to Washington D.C. to attend the United States Hispanic Chamber Legislative Summit.
She noted that this was an important time to be in D.C. because the Chamber is a heavy supporter of immigration reform at a time when the U.S. is at an impasse. Throughout the text of her article, Peterson discussed how immigration reform will have a positive economic impact on Arizona, as well as the rest of the country.
Peterson points to data, showing how immigration reform will allow for another $1 trillion over the next two decades to be put towards reducing our national debt. It will also create new jobs. In Arizona, the related tax revenue would impact the state in a very favorable way.
It was two Arizona Senators, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, who helped lead the passing of the immigration reform bill in the Senate last summer. Unfortunately, Peterson described an overwhelming sense of “blame” associated with her visit to D.C. There were statements made as to how “Republicans do not trust the Obama Administration to enforce policies they'd enact, and the Democrats call out for a vote on their own version of a House bill that lacks true bipartisan support.”
It seems that this issue has turned into something different than what it was originally. It is now a political issue, with members of Congress choosing sides. The idea that the U.S. was originally built by immigrants is all but lost. Now is the time to revisit that moment in our history and “replicate our entrepreneurial culture and our ability to recreate ourselves after economic crisis.”
During her visit, Peterson listened to Vice President Joe Biden as he gave a speech about immigration reform. He brought up a point that is usually overlooked: if immigration reform gets passed, there would be a “profound impact on our foreign relations with countries in the Western hemisphere.” There are many countries in Latin America that are watching how immigration reform decisions get made in the U.S. Our nation's trade could be significantly impacted if we fail to make the right decisions regarding immigration reform. From an economic standpoint, it is imperative that the U.S government treats the country's Hispanic population with respect.
Congressman Paul Ryan also made some comments during the Summit. As a possible future presidential candidate, he wanted to make his feelings clear. He discussed how passing immigration reform would be a “key indicator of the economic future of our nation.” He stated that there are approximately 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day. In Tucson, the average age of the Anglo population is 45. However, the average age of Hispanics is 28. Clearly, immigration reform is in the best interest of our country.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the idea that immigration reform would have a profound impact on the local and national economy?