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Immigration Reform is an Economic Imperative

by Debby Dale Mason | Jun 22, 2011
The United States has long been a worldwide economic leader, home of the world’s best, most innovative companies. And a surprising number of these companies – including AT&T, U.S. Steel, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, IBM, Google, Intel, and Apple – were the brainchild of immigrants and their children. In a blog post published earlier this year, I emphasized that, while the Chamber has always opposed illegal immigration, we recognize that immigration is a necessary ingredient for economic growth.

The Nashville region’s ability to create a globally competitive workforce is affected by laws that limit worker eligibility. This is why we recently joined the Partnership for a New American Economy (, a coalition of political and business leaders pushing for national immigration reform as an economic imperative. The organization’s goal is to increase the opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs to come to the United States – and for foreign students to stay here after they have finished their studies – so that we can attract the most talented and highly skilled individuals for our workforce.

We know that Nashville’s immigrant population plays a vital role in contributing to our economy, identity and global status, and we encourage more Middle Tennessee business and political leaders to get involved in this discussion.

For more information on the Partnership for a New American Economy, view the principles below. If you are ready to join the Partnership for a New American Economy, simply complete and return the form linked here.

To compete in the 21st-century global economy, America must fix our broken immigration system. The country needs an immigration system that secures our borders while welcoming immigrants who are essential for America’s economic growth.

Now, therefore, we resolve to push for immigration reform that includes the following principles:
  • Secure our borders and prevent illegal immigration through tougher enforcement and better use of technology;
  • Develop a simple and secure system for employers to verify employment eligibility and hold businesses that are not compliant, or abuse visa programs, accountable for their actions;
  • Increase opportunities for immigrants to enter the United States workforce – and for foreign students to stay in the United States to work – so that we can attract and keep the best, the brightest and the hardest-working, who will strengthen our economy;
  • Create a streamlined process by which employers can get the seasonal and permanent employees they need, when Americans aren’t filling vacant jobs;
  • Establish a path to legal status for the undocumented currently living in the United States with requirements such as registering with the federal government, learning English, paying taxes and following all laws; and
  • Strengthen federal, state, local, and employer-sponsored programs that offer English language, civics, and educational classes to immigrants.