Republican standards for immigration reform would benefit businesses

As a nation of laws, a nation of immigrants and a nation of opportunity, we need a better immigration process.

The newly announced House Republican standards for immigration reform are a strong step in the right direction.

Reforming our immigration system will strengthen our economy and create jobs. It’s just good business. At the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, we support Congress continuing the momentum of moving immigration legislation and passing broad immigration reform this year.

It is clear that immigration reform successfully has garnered strong bipartisan support. Due to the importance and the urgency of this issue, it transcends politics. Both President Obama in the State of the Union and the Republican Party with these standards are showing the need for commonsense reform.

Welcoming these hardworking immigrants will enrich our nation. They are our neighbors who, by coming out of the shadows and having the opportunity to earn citizenship, will contribute to our communities and the workforce.

In Tempe, we value the economic vitality of our businesses, from high-tech to startups and from food service to construction. We need Congress to implement a system that will benefit all of them.

Modernizing the immigration laws so that future immigration of workers and families is lawful, just and orderly is urgent. Because the United States will continue to draw motivated people with brilliant minds, we need to create a way for entrepreneurs to boost our economy by starting companies and creating more jobs.

We can facilitate this freedom and opportunity by fixing our work visa system so that farm workers and engineers alike can contribute to our nation. Each day that passes without a new immigration process is another day when we miss out on a new immigration process that will be good for all Americans.

A new study by Regional Economic Models Inc. shows that immigrants advance innovation at higher rates than other groups which has a positive effect on Arizona and its citizens. For every person who enrolls in a pathway to legal status in Arizona, the study estimates that more than $1,112 will be added to Gross State Product in 2014, which will increase to more than $4,995 by 2020.

What’s more, the enrollment would foster an estimated $202 increase in real personal income per capita in Arizona by the year 2020. The number of jobs in health care, retail and construction would increase fivefold in just six years.

My grandparents were immigrants. Throughout previous generations, we have witnessed immigrant economic mobility as they work hard and become strong business leaders, consumers and home buyers. Immigration reform will allow us to bring honor to the rule of law and spur economic growth simultaneously.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle are willing to rise above partisan politics and take action. Our nation’s leaders in faith, law enforcement and business support members of Congress who rise above partisan politics to move forward on commonsense, bipartisan immigration solutions.

With a vibrant workforce that includes legal immigrants, Arizona will remain competitive. Reform is urgent because businesses in Tempe and across the nation need it.

• Mary Ann Miller is the president and chief executive officer of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.

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