On Thursday, with a strong bipartisan vote, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system. President Obama congratulated the passage of the Senate’s bill, which is largely consistent with the President’s key principles for commonsense reform. The bill continues to secure our borders; ensures that every worker and employer is held accountable, plays by the same rules and pays taxes like everyone else; establishes a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants; and modernizes the legal immigration system. The Senate’s passage of the bill was immediately met with support from bipartisan leaders and a broad spectrum of groups across the country – from Democrats to Republicans, business to labor leaders and clergy. Here’s a look into what they are saying:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce | Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO
“Today the U.S. Senate took a major step forward in fixing America’s broken immigration system, securing our border, strengthening our economy and competitiveness, and reaffirming America’s legacy as an open and welcoming society. We commend the Gang of Eight for their leadership and applaud the bipartisan cooperation that made the bill’s passage possible.
“We are pleased that the House is making its own progress. We recognize that the House will take a different approach on many components of reform and hope these differences can be reasonably resolved so that sound legislation can be sent to the president for approval. We will continue to work with all parties to help move this process forward. LINK
Small Business Majority | John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO
“The Senate’s passage of the ‘Gang of Eight’s” bipartisan immigration legislation is great news for small business owners looking for intelligent fixes to our broken immigration system. While not perfect, the bill is full of provisions small employers strongly support and believe would help their businesses and our economy.
“Everyone benefits when we encourage hard-working immigrants to bring their skillsets to the U.S. and let previously undocumented immigrants legally join our workforce, pay taxes and contribute in a meaningful way to our economy..” LINK
National Association of Manufactures | Doug Oberhelman, Chairman of the NAM Board of Directors and Caterpillar Chairman and CEO & Jay Timmons, NAM President and CEO
“It is critical that we have an immigration system that reflects the needs of our modern economy,” said Caterpillar Chairman and CEO and Chairman of the NAM Board of Directors Doug Oberhelman. “The benefits of reform—a lower deficit, bolstered economic growth, a skilled workforce and a renewed commitment to the principles that built America—are clear. At each step of this process, the NAM and manufacturers will work with Congress to ensure that reform becomes a reality.”
“Comprehensive immigration reform represents a simple question: Do we want the next generation of innovation and life-altering ideas to originate in America, or are we content to allow other nations to surpass us?” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Today’s Senate passage is evidence that bipartisanship can still be found in Washington, D.C., and manufacturers are grateful to the senators who came together to lead on this critical issue. However, there is still work to be done. The House of Representatives must take a page from the Senate and work together to pass comprehensive reform.” LINK
Financial Services Forum | Rob Nichols, President and CEO
“We are encouraged by the progress U.S. policymakers have made toward achieving comprehensive immigration reform today. A much-needed update of U.S. immigration policies will help strengthen our national security, increase our economic growth and international competitiveness, and attract and retain the best talent to the United States. We are hopeful the House will work to produce an immigration plan that meets the goals of increasing U.S. economic and job growth and promoting future innovation here in America. LINK
Facebook | Mark Zuckerberg, CEO
“While immigration is important for our economic future, it is also fundamentally an issue of who we are as people,” Zuckerberg wrote in a status update on his Facebook page. “While a lot work remains to be done before reform becomes law, today’s vote showed that Senators from across the political spectrum came together in a bipartisan way to vote for reform that will move our economy forward and honor our history as a nation of immigrants.”
Pat Quinn, Governor, IL (D)
“Immigration reform is not only the right thing to do. It will also stimulate Illinois’ economy over the next 10 years by creating an estimated 4,400 new jobs annually and generating $1.6 billion in additional taxes from immigrants to state coffers. It will send a signal that the people of the United States embrace the freedom-seekers and entrepreneurs who wish only for a shot at the American Dream and a chance to contribute. As governor of one of the nation’s most immigrant-friendly states, I call on the U.S. House of Representatives to act quickly to pass this legislation.” LINK
Brian Sandoval, Governor, NV (R)
“I congratulate the United States Senate for its vote today to comprehensively reform our country’s immigration system. The Senate’s vote today is a sign of hope for those millions of people across the United States who are counting on us to make sure that the window to opportunity always remains open to everyone. I am confident that Congress can work together to achieve immigration reform that is good for both parties and good for America. I stand ready to work with Nevadans and Americans to secure a better day for our state and our country.” LINK
Americans for Tax Reform | Grover Norquist, President
"As Winston Churchill said, 'This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.' The Senate moved the immigration reform debate in the right direction today, passing a bill that begins the task of modernizing our broken immigration system. Now it is up to the House of Representatives to improve and strengthen the bill, and deliver immigration reform that creates a workable legal immigration system which deters illegal immigration by facilitating a robust future flow of legal immigrants and strengthening the American economy.” LINK
NDN | Simon Rosenberg, President and Founder
“Today, we join in celebrating the passage of the Senate immigration reform bill. As we’ve written before, we believe the bill at its core is ambitious, bold and super smart. It improves the legal immigration system, strengthens border security and interior enforcement, puts unauthorized immigrants on a path to citizenship and makes prudent investments in our ports of entry with Mexico which will create jobs on both sides of our border.
Whether the rest of Congress can keep the integrity of this bill as it moves forward in the coming months remains to be seen. We remain hopeful, but have no illusions how about much work needs to be to ensure that President Obama signs not just an immigration bill later this year, but a good one.” LINK
AFL-CIO | Richard Trumka, President
“The United States Senate today moved our country a big step closer to building a common sense immigration system that will allow millions of aspiring Americans to become citizens. Now it is up to the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead by allowing a majority of House members to vote on a bill with a path to citizenship.” LINK
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) | Eliseo Medina, Secretary-Treasurer
"All throughout the corners of America, we celebrate this monumental step the Senate has taken to finally pass historic immigration reform. Senators who voted for this legislation have made their mark on the pages of American history. And we thank them.
"No one can truly claim that this legislation is entirely perfect…What we can undoubtedly affirm is that this bill will set a new precedent and will mend much of our broken immigration system. It will allow millions of our friends, colleagues, families and neighbors to enter the threshold into American society, democracy and our economy. The lives of all families will be impacted for the better as will our economy that will stand to flourish.” LINK
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) | Lee Saunders, President
“The legislation passed by the Senate today is a giant step forward toward fixing the United States’ severely broken immigration system. This historic legislation creates a practical process that upholds and reflects America’s fundamental values.
“Eleven million aspiring U.S. citizens live and work in the shadows of our society. They are exploited by unscrupulous employers and denied the right to a voice on the job. They work in an underground economy that harms everyone by driving wages down for all workers. It makes it harder for reputable employers to compete. The families of these workers live in a constant state of uncertainty and fear. That is not right. It is not the American way.” LINK
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops | Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, Chairman
“I commend the U.S. Senate on the vote and for the bi-partisan cooperation displayed during the legislative process. I urge the House of Representatives to follow the U.S. Senate’s lead and pass a comprehensive reform bill as soon as possible.
“The status quo of our current system causes much suffering among immigrants and their families and must end,” Archbishop Gomez said. “The Senate legislation would allow immigrants and their families to come out of the shadows and into the light and would protect families from separation[…]” LINK
National Association of Evangelicals | Leith Anderson, President
“We’ve prayed for bipartisan immigration legislation in the Senate. Now it’s time to pray for bipartisan immigration legislation in the House.” LINK
Christian Community Development Association | Noel Castellanos, CEO
“The passage today of an immigration bill in the Senate is an answer to prayer for Evangelicals, and for the men, women and children who will benefit from this action. We thank our Senate leaders for having the courage and resolve to pass a bill that will fix our broken immigration system. Today, all Americans can be proud that our political representatives have pulled together to strengthen the fabric of our great nation.” LINK
Jewish Council for Public Affairs | Rabbi Steve Gutow, President
“We are an Immigration Nation. For hundreds of years, people from all over the world have traveled to the United States to build better lives. Our national commitment to immigration has been critical to our national prosperity: powering innovation, creativity, and growth. However, over the past decades, our system has become tarnished with an outmoded visa system, long waiting times, harsh detention and deportation policies, and millions of immigrants without a lawful status. Today, the U.S. Senate acted in accordance with our best values: national leaders compromising to expand justice, dignity, and opportunity.
“In the Torah, we are taught to ‘welcome the stranger’. Today the Senate restored our national commitment to immigration and relit the torch of promise that welcomes aspiring Americans through the golden door […].” LINK