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Minnesota business coalition urges immigration reform

With Congress is on its late-summer recess, the fate of the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate remains unclear. The House has resisted reform proposals before and may well do so again.

But across the nation, the wheels of commerce keep turning. Many business owners and trade associations seek to make it easier for employment immigration to occur and have added their voices to the chorus calling for reform.

Here in Minnesota, one form this chorus has taken is a coalition of business groups that has come together as the Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition.

From flower growers to milk producers, a diverse cross-section of trade groups makes up the new coalition. And the largest business group of them all, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, recently came on board as well.

Though the coalition’s focus, it is committed to collaboration with labor unions, faith groups, immigration advocates and others to lobby Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law that will address intractable problems with the current system.

One of those problems is that there aren’t enough work visas available to enable employers to have sufficient access to foreign-born workers. This lack of visas does not only hurt individual businesses who struggle to find the right workers. It also harms the overall American economic competitiveness.

Another problem, of course, is the lack of a clear path to citizenship for the 10 to 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already in the U.S. To be sure, what such a path should consist of has been very controversial. But ignoring it does not solve the problem.

Source: MinnPost, “Immigration reform: Minnesota’s changing face of labor,” Dave Beal, August 7, 2013

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