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Immigration Reform

Overview:

Comprehensive immigration reform is what the media calls it. A Welcome Sign, posted above a sturdy gate is what we call it at the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.

At the center of the group are our own two United States Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, without whom this legislative action might never have been lifted off the ground. The Flagstaff Chamber commends their leadership, and their willingness to grab onto the “third rail” that this issue has become in recent years.

While there are many issues that need to be dealt with by our federal government, the time to address and reform immigration is now.

The Greater Flagstaff Chamber supports legislation that is balanced. Such reforms should include strengthening our border security while pursuing initiatives that will address our current and future economic needs for high and low skilled workers with a work visa program. This legislation should also create a workable, reliable national employee verification system that will free our business owners from the burden of worrying about who they hire, and allow them to focus on what they do best: create jobs, and provide goods and services that improve the lives of all Americans.

The Greater Flagstaff Chamber supports legislation that is also realistic. It is estimated that there are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, with 7-8 million employed in our workforce. That large number keeps many areas of our economy humming. Pursuing 11 million people through our law enforcement agencies is not economically feasible. Expecting 11 million people to self-deport is not rational. Forcefully removing 11 million people is not just, nor is it American. A pathway to legal status for this population that comes with strict conditions such as paying back-taxes and learning English is appropriate, as well as necessary because it would allow our law enforcement officials to pursue the true criminals hiding amongst decent people, thereby strengthening our domestic security.

Here in Flagstaff, we are a STEM-focused community. If these reforms come to pass, it would build up our research-minded culture by helping to attract the best and brightest the world has to offer, and teaming them with our superior institutions of higher education.

The appetite for reform among Arizonans has never been greater. A 2013 survey commissioned by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce found that 72% of registered voters in the state favor the comprehensive plan that was passed by the U.S. Senate. This includes 74% of Republicans, 75% of Independents, and 69% of Democrats. Those numbers are astounding. Our country is very much divided right now over its politics, but the fact that that many people can all come to an agreement on a single issue means that the Gang of Eight is doing something right.

These reforms are necessary and just, and the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce stands behind it 100%. We have advocated for it through several letters to, and countless hours of meetings in Washington, DC with, our elected officials.

Next Steps:

Continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform to be passed in Congress and sent to the President for his signature.

Legislative Watch:

S. 744
Sponsor: Charles Schumer (NY)
Title: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
Status: PASSED - Senate (68 YEAS, 32 NAYS). Transmitted to House.

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Additional Material:

Outline of S.744

House GOP Immigration Standards

Letter to Congresswoman Kirkpatrick

Letter to Senator's McCain & Flake

Multi-Industry Letter to Speaker John Boehner

Arizona Survey on Immigration