Chicago Council Convenes Task Force on Immigration and U.S. Economic Competiveness
Samantha Skinner Monroe
December 15, 2011 – CHICAGO
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is convening a bipartisan task force to mobilize Midwestern leadership on and public understanding of immigration and its importance to the Midwest’s economic future. The goal of the year-long project is to forge consensus around, and build support for, sensible immigration policy at the state and national levels.
Nine task force cochairs, who represent business, political, and immigration thought leaders from across the Midwest, are meeting for the first time in Chicago today. They will lead the effort of 44 task force members—business leaders, subject matter experts, policy practitioners, and civic leaders—to develop a report that analyzes the role of immigration in ensuring the Midwest’s future competitiveness and prosperity.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs will organize leadership and public discussions on the report through a series of “Immigration Forums” to be held across the region. With help from the task force, and through these forums, the Council will assemble a “Coalition of 500” Midwestern business, political, and civic leaders to endorse new policy directions advanced by the task force. This will result in a Midwestern statement of principles for a new U.S. immigration policy—signed by the task force and endorsed by the “Coalition of 500”—that will be presented at an immigration summit in Washington, D.C.
“The time is ripe for a broad-based effort to engage Midwestern leaders in serious discussions about immigration and the region’s future,” said Rachel Bronson, vice president of studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “Pressures to address immigration policy at the national level will likely come to a head in the next two to three years, and at that time lawmakers will turn toward local and regional initiatives for ideas and guidance.”
Tamar Jacoby, president and Chief Executive Officer of ImmigrationWorks USA, will help guide the project and serve as lead author of the report. Jacoby, currently the Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, is a nationally known journalist, author of Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration, and editor of Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means To Be American, a collection of essays about immigrant integration.
This project builds on previous Chicago Council work on immigration issues, including its 2009 Heartland Paper
, “Mexican Immigration in the Midwest: Meanings and Implications
;” 2007 task force report, Strengthening America: The Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans
; the 2006 task force report, A Shared Future: Economic Engagement of Chicago's Mexican Community
; and the 2004 task force report, Keeping the Promise: Immigration Proposals from the Heartland
Generous funding for this project is being provided by the Exelon Foundation, The Robert R. McCormick Foundation,Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, and Chicago Council Board Member Clare Muñana.
Learn more online at thechicagocouncil.org/immigration