These leaders will meet in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, October 29, for an event sponsored by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network, FWD.us, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. With immigration reform next on Congress’ agenda this fall, conservative leaders are sending a clear and unified message that lawmakers need to take up broad immigration reform and keep it moving forward.
Americans for Reform will convene more than 600 leaders from more than 100 congressional districts across the country. Before they take their message to the halls of Congress, local leaders will be available for media interviews.
Participants in the Washington fly-in include:
• Randy Parker, CEO - Utah Farm Bureau Federation
• Todd Bingham, President - Utah Manufacturers Association
• Stan Lockhart, Government Affairs Manager - Micron, Former Utah GOP Chairman
• Jesus Loya, Director - Park City Angels
• Jason Mathis, Executive Vice President - Salt Lake Chamber, Executive Director - Salt Lake Downtown Alliance
• Mark Shurtleff, Former 3-term Utah Attorney General
• Melva Sine, President and CEO - Utah Restaurant Association
• Tim Wheelwright, Shareholder - Durham, Jones, and Pinegar
• Donna Milakovic, Executive Vice President - Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, Chairwoman of the Board - Utah State Chamber of Commerce
• Christine Watkins, Former State Legislator/Carbon County Chamber Member
• Bob Babcock, Principal - Babcock, Scott & Babcock
“U.S. agriculture faces a critical shortage of workers every year. Securing a reliable and competent workforce for our nation’s farms and ranches is essential to agriculture and the U.S. economy,” said Randy Parker, CEO, Utah Farm Bureau Federation. “I will be traveling to Washington to urge our Members of Congress that farmers and ranchers need a new agricultural labor program that accommodates all of agriculture, is flexible both for employers and for workers and provides short- and long-term solutions. Without it, Utah will continue to see fruit rot in the fields and livestock ranchers struggle to tend their herds.”
“I’m making this trip to Washington, D.C. because I believe the current immigration system we have right now is de facto amnesty,” said Stan Lockhart, former Utah GOP Chairman. “Passing sensible immigration reform would change that and would honor the ideals upon which our nation was founded, principally freedom and liberty. It would also be one of the best things we can do for our economy – and the sooner, the better and Republicans must come to the table to be a part of the solution.”
“The manufacturing industry has struggled to keep jobs in the U.S. Immigrants play a key role in keeping and creating more manufacturing jobs,” said Todd Bingham, President, Utah Manufacturers Association. “Reforming our broken immigration system will allow us to retain and revitalize more communities that rely on manufacturing jobs. I urge Congress to get immigration reform completed this year.”
“Our current immigration laws are not written for today's Utah businesses. We will not be able to continue to grow without real immigration solutions,” said Donna Milakovic, Executive Vice President, Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. “In order to compete in the global business market of the twenty-first century we must update our immigration laws. A modern economy needs modern immigration laws and Congress and the White House need to act today.”
“Now is the time to adopt bipartisan sensible immigration reform that promotes national security, keeps families together, ensures fairness to taxpayers and protects human dignity,” said Mark Shurtleff, former Utah Attorney General. “For the good of our economy and the immigrant population in Utah, I would urge our leaders in Washington to move legislation forward in order to achieve progress on this critical issue.”
These community leaders and others will be advocating for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that incorporates the following principles:
• Increased access to high-skill visas that will meet the demands of our growing economy.
• Making low-skill, temporary visas easier to obtain, so that the agricultural industry may have access to critical seasonal workers when needed.
• Border security must be included as a centerpiece of the legislation.
• An employer “e-verify” verification process that will ensure all employers follow the law without having to deal with unnecessary burdens.
• A solution for addressing currently undocumented immigrants, especially the children who have grown up in America and were brought here through no fault of their own.
The Utah leaders are heading to Washington as part of the “Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith, and Security” event. The event is a joint effort being organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy, Bibles Badges and Business, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and FWD.us.