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Tom Donohue: Immigration Reform the Right Thing to Do, and the Sooner the Better

Winston Churchill said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.”

Indeed, few nations have been tested as much as the United States has. Yet, time after time, we always manage to rise to the occasion, sometimes after many false starts. It will be no different with immigration reform. We will do the right thing — and the sooner the better.

Our leaders have sent a clear message that legislative action on immigration reform is unlikely to occur this year. Those of us who have been fighting for years for meaningful reform are disappointed by the lack of progress. But we’re not discouraged, and we’re not deterred.

In fact, the business community and our coalition of partners — including labor, law enforcement, the tech sector, civic organizations and the faith-based community — are more determined than ever to fix our broken system.

It’s not only the right thing to do — it’s the necessary thing.

Immigration reform would help revitalize our economy by raising the GDP, boosting productivity, and attracting investment from around the world. It would spur innovation and entrepreneurship. It would create jobs for immigrant and native-born workers alike. Reform would also help address our demographic realities and slash the federal deficit.

We must reform our system so that we can reassert our competitiveness. For the United States to build a 21st-century workforce in a global economy — and for businesses to have access to the employees they need to compete and succeed — we must welcome the world’s talent to our shores.

We need immigration reform to remain a nation ruled by law, guided by principle, and driven by compassion and common sense. We need to prove that America can tackle its big challenges and that our leaders can come together and act for the good of our economy, our people and our future.

Immigration is a deeply emotional issue that ignites people’s passions. But there is virtually no dispute over the fact that our current system is broken. The arguments are over how to fix it, not whether to fix it. So let’s have that debate, resolve it and get to work.

The business community and its partners will continue to make the case for meaningful reform. We’re going to use every tool and resource at our disposal. And we’re going to keep pushing our leaders to do the right thing for our country, if not before the election, then after — perhaps during a lame-duck session.

We know that immigration reform will ultimately get done — because it must get done.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

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