An outline of possible immigration legislation put forth by eight U.S. senators — four Democrats and four Republicans — and supported by President Obama has received a positive response from associations representing retailers and restaurant operators.
Following are excerpts of statements from retail and restaurant industry groups on the subject:
"Our current immigration system is broken and unworkable, and it is in desperate need of reform," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. "We applaud the President's commitment and Congress' resolve to address immigration reform this year."
Mr. Shay added, "In order to compete in the global marketplace, where trade and talent are borderless, the United States needs an immigration and visa system that is both agile and responsive, and addresses employers' needs and demands and those of today's more agile and transient workforce."
"The National Restaurant Association continues to support federal immigration reforms that include a legal visa system that meets the needs of U.S. employers. An accurate and reliable employment verification system is one part of the fix that is needed to make immigration laws work for U.S. businesses and the U.S. economy," said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the National Restaurant Association. "But it's only a first step — eventually, worksite enforcement must be accompanied by provisions that give employers who have made every reasonable effort to hire Americans a way to hire legal foreign workers to keep their businesses open and contributing to the U.S. economy."
While business leaders were supportive of the bipartisan effort, there still remains opposition from conservatives inside and out of Congress.
"This is another amnesty bill that Americans cannot afford," Lou Barletta (R-PA), the leader of the conservative House immigration caucus, told The Daily Beast website. "We have 22 million Americans out of work, and providing a pathway to citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants that would cost approximately $2.6 trillion net over the next 10 years is a very bad idea."
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Fox News that the outline of the immigration bill amounted to a "large-scale amnesty" that would be"likely to add trillions of dollars to the debt over time, accelerate Medicare's and Social Security's slide into insolvency, and put enormous strain on our public assistance programs."
Do you support or oppose the outline for immigration reform put forth by the group of eight Senators this week?