As the U.S. Senate begins to debate immigration reform, we ask our Congressional leadership to strive for bi-partisan and comprehensive solutions for our broken immigration system.
Illinois and the nation desperately need common sense immigration reform that supports Illinois’ economic recovery, provides Illinois companies with the high- and low-skilled talent they need, and promotes the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and citizens. Every sector of our economy– including technology, hospitality, manufacturing, agriculture, education, healthcare, engineering, energy, finance, and real estate – has been speaking in one voice to call for modernized immigration solutions that empower Illinois’ economic competitiveness.
Each of us believes in entrepreneurship, hard work and community values. Our immigrant communities embody all of these qualities. An analysis of entrepreneurial activities between 1996 and 2008 showed that immigrants are nearly twice as likely to start new businesses as U.S.-born citizens. According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, one in every 10 workers in this country privately employed is employed by an immigrant-owned business.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners, Illinois’ 56,567 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $10.3 billion and employed 77,449 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 59,367 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $18.5 billion and employed 102,991 people.
The need for common sense immigration reform is not only a question of economic necessity; it is a question of American values of creating opportunity for oneself and others through hard work, no matter one’s country of origin.
Our immigration system simply is not working. The time has come for us to put politics aside and come together to fix it. We urge our two Illinois Senators to do what is right for our state, our economy, our businesses and our communities – support common sense immigration reform.
Hon. Jim Edgar, Former Governor, State of Illinois
John Rowe, Chairman Emeritus, Exelon Corporation
Dave Bender, Executive Director, American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois
Greg Brown, Chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions
John Bucksbaum, CEO, Bucksbaum Retail Properties, LLC
Lester Crown, Chairman, Henry Crown & Company
Tyrone C. Fahner, President, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago
Ron Gidwitz, Partner, GCG Partners
Sue Ling Gin, Founder and CEO, Flying Food Group LLC
Christopher G. Kennedy, Chairman, Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc.
Ambassador James Kenny
Doug Oberhelman, Chairman & CEO, Caterpillar Inc.
Michael Sacks, CEO, Grosvenor Capital Management
Samuel C. Scott III, Former Chief Executive Officer, Corn Products International, Inc.; Chairman, Chicago Sister Cities International Program
Mark Segal, President and CEO, The Habitat Company; Chair, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee
Harry Seigle, Principal, The Elgin Company
Michael Tang, Vice Chairman, Tang Industries; CEO, National Material L.P.
Glenn F. Tilton, Retired Chairman of the Board, United Continental Holdings, Inc.
Sam Toia, President, Illinois Restaurant Association
Doug L. Whitley, President & CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce
Read the letter from top CEOs asking for leadership on immigration (.pdf).