Immigration Reform -- Time for Business to Weigh In

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An editorial in Spanish-language daily La Opinión argues that the time has come for the private sector to weigh in on immigration reform.

The immigration reform President Obama just presented does not feature many new proposals, but it includes basically everything that was known and necessary. What is different than before is that the president raised this issue’s priority in his agenda with a trip and a speech.

Does this mean still more rhetoric and no action? Yes, unless someone interested in comprehensive immigration reform gets involved—someone like the private sector.

The president cannot do much more to get Congress to approve comprehensive immigration reform. Some Democrats are afraid of addressing the issue because it might make them politically vulnerable. On the other hand, a majority of Republicans do want to discuss it in order to earn political credit by showing they can be tough on immigration.

This stagnant state of affairs is the same as always. However, as time passes, an abnormal situation is developing because there is no updated immigration law. For example, some states are enacting their own immigration regulations.

It is necessary for a player like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to weigh in more on the debate. After all, immigration has a profoundly positive effect on the economy, which is one of the reasons this organization supports comprehensive reform.

The Chamber’s official position on the issue declares its support for immigration reform that includes "an earned pathway to legalization for undocumented workers already contributing to our economy, provided that they are law-abiding and prepared to embrace the obligations and values of our society." The Chamber must also respond to a call for less talk and more action.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the few organizations that can influence the Republican caucus in Congress. If this association were to lobby on immigration like they do on decreasing taxes and regulation, an overall dynamic that is more positive toward immigration reform could develop.

Yesterday, the DREAM Act, which benefits undocumented students, was reintroduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate. This bill could be the perfect vehicle for the business sector to pressure its conservative allies.

After hearing Obama’s words on immigration reform, Randy Johnson from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said "we are ready to go whenever." It is time for the Chamber to step up to the plate and demonstrate this.