Business Leaders Pressure Congress For Immigration Changes

UNITED STATES – AUGUST 10: Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., is seen outside the U.S. Capitol before the Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Tuesday, August 10, 2021. The bipartisan package passed 69-30. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Bipartisan coalition wants to see path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in Democrats’ reconciliation bill.

A bipartisan coalition of business leaders announced a nationwide campaign Friday to push Democrats to include in their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants and deliver on long-promised revisions to the U.S. immigration system.

Rebecca Shi, executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, described the campaign as a “coast-to-coast” effort with a “seven-figure” price tag that will make the case that “immigration reform is urgent, bipartisan and belongs in the budget reconciliation.”

ABIC will host virtual and in-person events, post paid and organic social media, meet with elected officials and release reports regarding the economic impact of legislation legalizing undocumented immigrants. The campaign will stretch until the fall, when Democrats are expected to unveil the legislative text of the reconciliation bill.

ABIC will also highlight stories from individual workers and employers highlighting the need for legalization, Shi said. The campaign will be carried out in 15 states across the U.S. where ABIC’s employers are seeing labor shortages, according to Shi.

“After decades of waiting, our economy, the business community, workers and families simply cannot wait any longer,” she said.

Democrats hope to pass a path to permanent status for certain categories of undocumented immigrants, including those brought to the U.S. as children, farmworkers and other essential workers, through the budget reconciliation process.

Instructions to include such a provision in the reconciliation bill were included in the $3.5 trillion budget plan adopted by the Senate this week. The House is to take up the plan the week of Aug. 23.

However, Democrats’ ability to pass immigration measures as part of reconciliation will hinge on an eventual determination from the Senate parliamentarian on whether such provisions comply with Senate reconciliation rules, which limit provisions to those affected by federal spending and revenue.

By Suzanne Monyak for ROLL CALL
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