the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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African Leaders Meet to Discuss Immigration Reform

Summary: 
Today, the White House is meeting with a group of African leaders to discuss the benefits of commonsense immigration reform for African immigrant communities. The meeting coincides with this weekend’s festivities marking the anniversary of Dr. King’s historic March on Washington.

Today, the White House is meeting with a group of African leaders to discuss the benefits of commonsense immigration reform for African immigrant communities. The meeting coincides with this weekend’s festivities marking the anniversary of Dr. King’s historic March on Washington. 50 years later, his words still resonate with those fighting for more equitable, just treatment of immigrant families. This forum presents an opportunity to celebrate African immigrant communities and their contributions to this country while reaffirming a shared commitment to fixing our broken immigration system. Together, we acknowledge that there is still more work to be done in defense of the American Dream.

African leaders represent a vital part of the growing coalition in favor of immigration reform. Their support is crucial to the Administration’s efforts to improve the system and better meet the needs of immigrants from African countries, one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the United States, with more than 1 million obtaining U.S. permanent residence since 2000. These immigrants use multiple pathways to enter the United States. From parents reuniting with children, to refugees fleeing persecution, to immigrant entrepreneurs creating jobs, these individuals make rich contributions to our Nation’s growth. That is why African immigrant communities would benefit from commonsense immigration reforms that would reunite families, strengthen protections under the refugee and asylum programs, legalize those who are living in the shadows, and increase avenues for employment for African graduate students and entrepreneurs.

To highlight the many other ways in which modernizing our immigration laws would positively impact the African immigrant community, I am pleased to announce that the White House is releasing a fact sheet on the benefits of immigration reform for African immigrants and refugees.

The Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill in June that creates an earned path to citizenship, continues to strengthen border security, holds employers accountable, and streamlines the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers. The Congressional Budget Office and other entities have found that providing earned citizenship for undocumented immigrant workers would increase their wages and, over 10 years, boost U.S. GDP by $1.4 trillion, increase total income for all Americans by $791 billion, generate $184 billion in additional state and federal tax revenue from currently undocumented immigrants, and add about 2 million jobs to the U.S. economy. The White House has also released a series of reports that make the economic case for immigration reform.

Now is the time for the House to act so immigrants from Africa and many other countries that make up this great nation can continue to contribute to our society and economy.