Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pittsburgh Business Leaders Traveling to D.C. to Call for Passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Business leaders from Pittsburgh are joining a Pennsylvania delegation traveling to Washington, DC., to push for passage of meaningful immigration reform this year.

The leaders are meeting with members of the state's congressional delegation urging them to support bipartisan immigration legislation that will create jobs and strengthen America’s communities and economy.

Dewitt Peart, president, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, said immigration reform is essential to the Pittsburgh region's continued economic growth.

“In the Pittsburgh region, our economy has recovered," Peart said in a statement. "Now, we have vacant positions that are going unfilled and more positions opening due to approaching retirements. We need more people and we need to put them to work. We are committed to preparing residents for the jobs that will be in high demand and we’re partnering with labor to support sensible immigration reform that’s needed for Pittsburgh and other regions to increase and maintain our economic vitality."

“Our universities are attracting and educating some of the world’s top talent in tech and other advanced STEM degrees," said Audrey Russo, CEO and President of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.  “Many of these students want to stay in the U.S. after graduation, yet we send them away to other countries to compete against us. If we don’t reform our immigration system to attract and retain top talent our country is going to lose its global competitiveness.”

Pennsylvania participants in the Washington trip include:

- Kevin Coutts, President, Forest Homes of Lake Wallenpaupack, Inc. and Vice President, Pennsylvania Builders Association
- Audrey Russo, President & CEO, Pittsburgh Technology Council
- Brandon Mendoza, Government Affairs Associate, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
- Alex Halper, Director of Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
- Fr. Bernard Survil, Diocese of Greensburg and Founding & Board Member of the Association of US Catholic Priests
- Peter Gonzales, President and CEO, The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
- Anatoli Murha, Business Development and Marketing Manager, Ukrainian Selfreliance Federal Credit Union
- Fr. Tom Higgins, Archdiocse of Philadelphia, Holy Innocents Parish

Attendees will advocate for an immigration reform solution that incorporates the following principles:

- Make 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.
- Increased access to high-skill visas that will meet the demands of our growing economy.
- A solution for addressing currently undocumented immigrants, including children who were brought here young and grew up in America.
- An employer “e-verify” verification process that will ensure all employers follow the law without having to deal with unnecessary burdens.
- The group is headed to D.C. as part of the “Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith, and Security” event. The event is a joint effort organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy, Bibles Badges and Business, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and FWD.us.

Source: Pittsburgh Technology Council

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