Good for Business, Great for Families: Let's Finish What the President Started

On Thursday night, President Obama took an action that is long overdue on the issue of immigration reform. What this action does is important for our county because it clearly recasts our priorities for enforcing immigration laws by deploying our limited enforcement resources on deporting felons rather than families. It also addresses the adequacy of immigration courts and revamps high-skilled visa programs, which American business desperately needs. I am glad he has chosen to bring humanity and common sense to our country's broken immigration system when so many in Washington have needlessly delayed. This is not a permanent fix nor is it the complete and reliable fix we need, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Comprehensive Immigration Reform is crucial to our long-term economic security, and we cannot afford to sit idle any longer.

Over the last couple of decades, I have been part of building successful business enterprises and advised other businesses on how to grow, create jobs, and prosper. I care deeply about Comprehensive Immigration Reform because it is morally and ethically right for the families of Illinois while at the same time economically vital to Illinois, the Midwest and our Nation. Imagine the economic benefits of bringing 4.1 million people out of the shadows and allowing them to fully and transparently engage in the American economy, no longer subjected to a life in the shadows and only underground commerce. These folks will take the risks most of us enjoy when it comes to owning a home, purchasing an automobile or starting a business without fear of limited access to capital.

According to a recent report by the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP) after surveying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees: 59% have obtained new jobs, 49% have opened their first bank account, 33% have opened their first credit card and 45% have increased job earnings. This only translates to a much larger tax base and a boost to our economy.

Another aspect of the president's plan is to make it easier and faster for immigrants with specialized skills or university degrees to stay longer in the U.S. and contribute to our economy. Last year, immigrant entrepreneurs started 28% of all new businesses despite representing just 13% of the U.S. population. According to the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, at least 36 of the 223 active startups spun off from Illinois universities since 2010 were founded or co-founded by an immigrant. I want the next startup-turned-Fortune 500 company to grow jobs right here in Illinois, not in another country because of outdated immigration laws.

We need to be a nation that not only welcomes but keeps the most talented, determined and hard working people, that gives people a way to prosper, succeed through hard work and treats businesses fairly and allows American companies to field a diverse array of talent that no other country can match.

The president's plan steers us in the right direction, but it is up to Congress to permanently fix our broken immigration system. Let's put pressure on the people who are supposed to represent our best interests. Comprehensive Immigration Reform will broaden the tax base, grow our economy and keep families united. It's the smart thing to do. It's the humane thing to do.

In business, excuses are not tolerated; we only accept solutions. The president did what he needed to do. Now it's up to us and our representatives in Congress to finish the job.

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