El Paso Mayor, Dreamers, Business, Law Enforcement, and Faith Leaders Call for Workforce & Border Security Solutions

EL PASO – Thursday, El Paso Mayor Ivy Avalos, Dreamers, Business, Civic, Faith, and Law Enforcement leaders joined a discussion on workforce and border security solutions hosted by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, El Paso Chamber of Commerce, The Borderplex Alliance, American Business Immigration Coalition, National Immigration Forum, Presidents’ Alliance for Higher Education and Immigration, Texas Association of Business, and American Families United.

Watch video of the event here

Leaders highlighted the economic contributions of immigrants and called on lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation to improve border security and to modernize the US immigration system in ways that will improve the US workforce and help to alleviate historic inflationary workforce shortages. Discussions highlighted the needs for a legislative solution for DACA and Dreamers and a method for unauthorized immigrants to earn work permits. Speakers also urged lawmakers to pass the recently introduced bipartisan Dignity Act that includes comprehensive border and immigration solutions.  

Socorro is a transient community with many residents traveling in and out of the country,” said Socorro Mayor Ivy Avalos. “As for our immigration issues, the City of Socorro has identified various areas of need and improvement which can be addressed by state and federal legislation. I urge Congress to work on passing solutions that address this need,” added Mayor Avalos.

Juan Carlos Cerda, Texas State Director for the American Business Immigration Coalition added: “Too often, politicians use fear-mongering rhetoric to whip up opposition to immigration solutions. But the public recognizes the economic benefits that are gained when migrants — new arrivals at the border or those who have been in the U.S. for years — are allowed to apply for work permits. Immigrant workers can lessen labor shortages and curb inflation, here in El Paso and across the nation. Congress must pass bipartisan immigration solutions that keep our economy growing and our borders secure.

"As the state Chamber of Commerce we work with over 200 chambers throughout the state of Texas. We are all united on the need to get sensible immigration reform through," said Glenn Hamer,  CEO of the Texas Association of Business. "We are all united that there is a formula where we can provide greater border security while bringing in those individuals who want to work and contribute to our great state. You’ve heard all the statistics and they are real. When I go across the state, the number one issue is workforce, the need for more workers. Take a look at the contributions of our 200,000 Dreamers and 100,000 DACA recipients in Texas…can you imagine taking a few hundred thousand workers out of the economy? That would be devasting for what is arguably the free world’s strongest economy… Texas needs to be the model, we need our Republicans and Democrats in the delegation to come together. Every single member of the Texas delegation voted for the USMCA. We may not get that same sort of vote but I believe we could come darn close. The state of Texas needs immigration reform and the United States needs immigration reform. It is one of the great comparative advantages, as Woody Hunt said, that the best and brightest and hardest working people on the planet want to come to the United States and make it their home," added Hamer. 

The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce believes in our sole mission: to advocate for our small minority, women and veteran owned businesses and their needs,” said Cindy Ramos-Davidson, CEO of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Our members have spoken: small minority, women and veteran businesses in Socorro need employees to ensure the survival of their business. Our members need immigration solutions that ensure order at our border and allow our Dreamer employees to stay in the U.S. Throughout COVID we saw it again and again- immigrants who chose to stay here and become some of our nations most important and valuable employees in the midst of a global pandemic. The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce stands with our members in urging Senators Cornyn and Cruz, Congressman Gonzales, and Congresswoman Escobar to work on passing solutions that will grow our local economy and allow small businesses a chance to get back on their feet after two years of deep uncertainty,” added Ramos-Davidson.

Woody L. Hunt, Senior Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hunt Companies, Inc. and ABIC Co-Chair added: “Here in El Paso, we have seen the many ways that immigration can be a boon to our economy. More than one in five of our residents was born outside the U.S., foreign-born entrepreneurs have started more than 10,000 companies here, and dozens of companies have located in our border region because of the unique trade relationship we share with Mexico. Thousands of companies and industries depend on immigrants to power their labor force, so it is imperative not to lose sight of the economic benefits that immigration can bring to Texas and our nation as decision makers discuss how to modernize our immigration system.

In Texas, we estimate there are 300,000 mixed-status families like mine. Border towns like ours have the highest concentration of these families in Texas. Imagine how much better our community would be if our families could contribute fully. That is why I urge Congressman Gonzales, Senator Cornyn, and Senator Cruz to support the Dignity Act. This bill would help U.S. citizens like me,” said Edgar Falcon, Board Member of American Families United.

We applaud these thriving communities that welcome newcomers. The American people have shown time and again that they support solutions that would address our border and labor workforce challenges — including in polling this month, after the end of Title 42. Republicans and Democrats can and should work together on solutions that bring order to the border and offer certainty to American businesses, farmers and communities,” said Jennie Murray, CEO of the National Immigration Forum.

The El Paso region is a vibrant, binational economic engine, with 22.2% of its population born outside the U.S. and wielding a spending power of $3.2 billion. However, the region is facing labor shortages and a broken immigration system that fails to address the workforce needs of El Paso’s businesses and communities.

This year, the U.S. will have a construction shortage of 500,000 workers as a result of the construction boom. And the country is projected to have a shortage of 300,000 engineers and 90,000 technicians by the end of the decade. Now is the moment to pass workforce and border solutions that grow El Paso’s economy, make our region more competitive, and keep El Paso families together.

Recent polling of swing state voters revealed that 82% believe that the US immigration system is broken, 76% view increasing border security postiviely, and 76% want a way for dreamers and unauthorized immigrants to “gain legal status and a pathway to citizenship if certain requirements are met, including background checks.”

American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) is a bipartisan coalition of over 1,200+ CEOs, business owners, and trade associations across 17 mostly red and purple states. ABIC promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.

El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the leading advocate in promoting the success of small minority and women owned businesses in the greater El Paso region, by providing resources, information and education while promoting the awareness and preservation of the Hispanic Culture.

Founded in 1982, the National Immigration Forum is a nonpartisan advocacy organization that builds trusted relationships to create a shared vision for immigration. The Forum works across the political spectrum to convene different perspectives, bring new allies into the conversation, and advance constructive and compassionate immigration policies that serve America’s interests.


© 2015 TexasGOPVote  | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy