(Editor’s note: This commentary was written by a consortium of Arizona business leaders. Signatories to this commentary are listed below.)
The failure of the federal government to fix our broken immigration system has led to recent actions on immigration by Arizona’s policymakers. What we have now is a divisive, emotionally charged environment that is tearing at the fabric of Arizona’s sense of community and threatening the essence of our historically diverse culture. Regardless of how individuals feel about Arizona’s immigration laws, the negative, unintended consequences such as damaging our relationship with our largest trading partner, creating tension in our communities and generating calls for inappropriate boycotts, are significant.
The people of Arizona, like the people in all states, have every reason to be frustrated that our elected officials in Washington haven’t fixed our broken immigration system. It is a federal responsibility. Arizona cannot truly solve the set of complex issues that make up the immigration debate. The federal government must deal with border security, immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, and the economic realities that drive immigration.
The real solution is federal immigration reform.
The business community of Arizona believes that the time is now for a real solution and supports four specific reform components: First and foremost, strengthen border security; create a secure system for all employers nationwide to verify the legal work eligibility for employees; require immigrants already in the U.S. illegally with no criminal record to register for a federally established form of legal status, to learn English, and to pay appropriate penalties and taxes; and grow the economy by establishing a market?based immigration process that supports a range of workforce needs from seasonal to highly skilled workers, and entrepreneurs.
We are a nation of immigrants that needs a working immigration system. We are a state of immigrants that deserves to enjoy the rich diversity that is our heritage. These are not new ideas, but we need to act now. Please join us in asking the president and Congress to act quickly to create a viable national immigration system.
— Glenn Hamer, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Gonzalo De La Melena, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Lisa Urias, Arizona Latino Research Enterprise; David Martin, Associated General Contractors, Arizona Chapter; Ricardo Carlo, Association of Minority Contractors of America; Roc Arnett, East Valley Partnership; Julie Pastrick, Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce; Robert Millis, Flagstaff Forty; Don Rinehart, Glendale Chamber of Commerce; Todd Sanders, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; Barry Broome, Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Thomas Franz, Greater Phoenix Leadership; Charles Deaton, Mesa Chamber of Commerce; Dave Maurer, Prescott Chamber of Commerce; Ronald Shoopman, Southern Arizona Leadership Council; Mary Ann Miller, Tempe Chamber of Commerce; Lea Marquez Peterson, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Jack Lunsford, WESTMARC; Ken Rosevear, Yuma County Chamber of Commerce