shutterstock_73290592As an increasing number of organizations voice their support for comprehensive immigration reform, the business community added theirs this week through a letter  to Congress. Business now joins a broad swath of the American public that wants Congress to pass immigration reform. The letter sent to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives represents a nationwide coalition of 420 companies and includes business and industry associations and state and local chambers of commerce. It encourages Members of Congress to enact legislation that would repair and modernize our immigration system and comes on the heels of other similar efforts by higher education administrators, faith groups, faculty and scholars, non-profits, and other coalitions.

Specifically, the letter reminds Congress that “reform of an outdated, broken immigration system is essential if we are to achieve a fully revitalized economy that provides rewarding and lasting jobs and opportunities for all Americans.” The letter further states that “thought leaders from across the ideological spectrum agree that enacting immigration reform now will accelerate U.S. economic growth at a critical time when it has struggled to recover, and will help to enable sustained growth for decades to come,” and “reform will also serve to protect and complement our U.S. workforce, generating greater productivity and economic activity that will lead to new innovations, products, businesses, and jobs in communities across the U.S.”

A review of the letter’s 420 signatories shows that this coalition represents a wide array of entities from across America. The list of signatories is impressive and include a wide range of businesses, agriculture and technology groups, and local chambers of commerce and industry associations including: the American Meat Institute, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, California Cotton Ginners Association, Facebook, Intel, Virgin America, and Hilton International to name a few. Even businesses and organizations from states which have had opponents to immigration reform in Congress have signed the letter, including: the Virginia Green Industry Council, the Business Council of Alabama, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Loudoun County (Virginia) Chamber of Commerce, and the Texas Association of Business.

The letter makes clear that leaders from the national to the state and local level in places and cities across the U.S. view immigration reform as an economic imperative for America.

“We deal with an immigration system that is now in its third decade and completely incapable of being responsive to an ever-changing national economy and hypercompetitive global marketplace.”

The letter further notes:

“the problems with our immigration system have grown and multiplied to become an emerging threat to the current and future productivity, ingenuity, and competitiveness of key sectors of our economy, including agriculture, housing, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, tourism, engineering, and technology.”

The authors of the letter build upon the abundant research highlighting the positive benefits of immigration to the country as a whole and to specific states and cities throughout the U.S. Immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs start businesses in towns and cities across America, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in local communities. And in many places, local leaders recognize the importance of immigrants and their businesses to their metropolitan regions, implementing policies of welcome and integration for newcomers.

The letter ends with a stark warning:

“Failure to act is not an option. We can’t afford to be content and watch a generation-old immigration system work more and more against our overall national interest. Instead, we urge Congress to remain mindful of the clear benefits to our economy if we succeed, and work together and with us to achieve real, pro-growth immigration reform.”