February 18, 2014 – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and U.S. Representatives Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) are discussing immigration reform this morning at a public event hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in partnership with the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. The event will be streamed live. John Rowe, the retired chairman and CEO of Exelon Corporation, board member of The Chicago Council and co-chair of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, will moderate the discussion.
“As members of the House of Representatives return home for a district work period this week, I think it is important to have a candid discussion with constituents about this important issue and the current politics surrounding it in Washington,” said U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger, who represents the 16th Congressional District of Illinois.
A recent Chicago Council Survey found 77 percent of Midwest business leaders polled think it’s important the President and Congress pass significant new immigration legislation this year.
“The Congress must act on immigration reform, so I am working with Democrats, Republicans and everyone I can work with inside and outside Washington to make it happen” said Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez, who represents the Fourth District and is Chairman of the Immigration Taskforce of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “Almost every elected official in Illinois including the Mayor, the Governor, and almost all of the Illinois delegation in the House and Senate have made immigration reform a priority and we are making sure the nation knows how important reform is for Illinois, Chicago and the entire country.”
The Chicago Council Survey of Midwest business leaders also found that bills that combine stricter enforcement measures with a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants will garner more support than legislation that tackles individual issues incrementally.
"The bipartisan Senate immigration bill would strengthen our border security, boost our economy and unlock the full American potential of 525,000 people in Illinois," Kirk said. "With key provisions to boost the Illinois economy, like visa-free travel for Polish citizens visiting Chicago, it's time to enact this bipartisan legislation."
While immigration policy is the responsibility of the federal government, local leaders across the nation face the reality of integrating immigrants in their communities on a daily basis.
“We are a city, state and country of immigrants and we will continue to do everything we can to continue course as a city that welcomes and supports our immigrant community, but we recognize that we are not a city or a state unto ourselves, and we need Congress to act to put our national laws in line with our national values,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Business and civic leaders in Illinois agree that delay is no longer an option and that it is important for the President and Congress to pass significant immigration legislation this year. The call for comprehensive immigration reform is a bipartisan issue and discussions like today are critical in showing why the time is now.”
“Over the past several years, The Chicago Council has conducted extensive research on immigration policy and its impact on U.S. competitiveness in a global economy,” said Ambassador Ivo Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “We are delighted this bipartisan group of national leaders will be addressing the critical issue of immigration reform on our platform.”
The event is open to the public and will be streamed live. The Chicago Council Survey of Midwest business leaders on immigration will be available at the event.