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Leaders Across the Midwest Urge Immigration Reform to Strengthen the Economy

Democratic and Republican state and local officials from all over the country are speaking out about the need for commonsense immigration reform. See what officials from the midwest United States had to say.

Ed. note: This post is the second in a series of five. Check back on the White House Blog throughout the week for more statements from leaders around the country.

Yesterday, bipartisan state and local officials in the South explained why now is the time for immigration reform. Today, leaders in the Midwest share why they support immigration reform and how fixing the broken immigration system will help their communities by strengthening the economy, spurring innovation and increasing U.S. trade and exports.

"For America to be competitive in the 21st century, it's critical that we implement an effective system for legal immigration. It should be a system that honors our country's heritage and also one that recognizes immigrants as valuable members of our communities who have long fueled our economic engine.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

“From our early days as an auto town to our new economic direction, South Bend has always built on the contributions of generations of hard-working families who became Americans by choice. Our city will be better off when Congress finally acts to fix our broken immigration system. This community needs Washington to do what it takes to ensure that such talented and capable people have the chance to legally and fully contribute to our economy, and share the blessings and burdens of citizenship.”

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg

“Our nation’s federal immigration laws and policies are broken, and an overhaul is long overdue.  I support President Obama’s leadership in trying to reform our nation’s immigration system.  The President’s comprehensive proposal secures our borders, provides a clear path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants who act responsibly, and holds businesses accountable when they hire people who aren’t here legally.”

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

“The President’s proposals will allow the individuals we train in our world-class institutions to develop new technologies and create jobs in our own country rather than overseas. They will allow families to stay together and millions of our neighbors to step out of the shadows and into active roles in our communities.”

Chicago, Illinois Mayor Rahm Emanuel

“As Mayor of the City of Wichita, I recognize the urgent need for a federal solution to the issue of illegal immigration. This issue has broad social, economic and political importance for our community. The Wichita City Council is on record in support of a federal solution to the problem. Piecemeal efforts by individual states or communities will only exacerbate the problem. Only the federal government can fix what's wrong with the immigration system.  Any federal solution should acknowledge the economic impact of the current labor force and the need for a consistent, fair and humanitarian outcome.”

Wichita, Kansas Mayor Carl Brewer

“Whether we’re talking about our Fore Fathers or Ellis Island, America has a long tradition of people coming to this nation in order find a better life. We need comprehensive reform to our immigration policies which should honor the hard work of those here now, as well as the individuals who came before us, because we are a nation of immigrants. Considering the fact that, unless you are Native American, we are all immigrants, it is time to move forward and reform the immigration policies that have been holding back individuals that want to be productive, taxpaying citizens.”

Racine, Wisconsin Mayor John Dickert

“This is a country that celebrates diversity.  It’s time for us to accept the reality that millions of hard working immigrants are contributing to the progress and growth of our nation.  We need to find a better way to welcome them.”

Cincinnati, Ohio Mayor Mark Mallory

“As Mayor of Allentown I applaud the President's proposal to provide comprehensive reform to our nation's broken immigration system. I believe that these proposals provide a framework that will increase our nation's economic competitiveness and help communities like Allentown to grow, all while providing a pathway to legally recognize our neighbors currently living in the shadows who have been contributing to their local economies for years.  Allentown, like the rest of our nation, was built on the shoulders of immigrants. The President's proposals provide hope that this proud and uniquely American tradition will continue, strengthening our city for generations to come.”

Allentown, Pennsylvania Mayor Ed Pawlowski

“We know in Minneapolis that in order for our neighborhoods to prosper and our city to succeed on the global stage, we need everyone. Luckily for us, people have come to our city from around the world to help us do just that. President Obama’s immigration-reform proposal today pulls everyone who can contribute to our success out the shadows and gives them a chance to work and to play by the same rules as everybody else.”

Minneapolis, Minnesota Mayor RT Rybak

"St. Louis has a rich history of population and commerce growth through immigrant efforts. In 1904, Germans, Italians and Irish flooded the City following the World's Fair.  We opened our arms then and continue to do so today.  Comprehensive immigration reform is a crucial component to St. Louis economic stability and growth.  We need and want immigrants to come to St. Louis and call it home."

St. Louis, Missouri Mayor Francis Slay

“On behalf of the nation’s counties, I urge Congress and the President to enact comprehensive immigration reform this year. Immigrants and their families, regardless of whether they are authorized or unauthorized to be in this country, contribute to local economies. It’s long past time for Washington to work through their differences and pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.”

Douglas County, Nebraska Commissioner and President of the National Association of Counties Chris Rodgers

“The current immigration debate is wrongly focused on who among the undocumented is worthy of citizenship as opposed to how our country and economy can benefit through granting more people citizenship. This debate needs to focus on creating more legal ways to citizenship in order to keep families together and to attract more entrepreneurs to our country.”

South Dakota State Representative Marc Feinstein

"North Dakota is in an energy boom and growing economy. The high salary energy industry has created low unemployment. We also have a growing health care industry due in part to the aging of our population greater than other states.  To fill this need for employees we need to welcome our new neighbors from other countries. Our state was built on the backs of immigrants and most of us are within a few generations of ancestors coming from other countries. We have the spirit and economy in which anyone could build a good life for their family, regardless of who they are or where they came from. Our federal immigration policy has not lived up to the positive options available to us. It’s time for Congress to act and come up with a commonsense immigration policy.”

North Dakota State Senator Tim Mathern

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