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U.S. Business Chiefs Call For Immigration Reform Email this page
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WASHINGTON: Heads of major U.S. companies urged immigration reform as crucial to boosting U.S. economic growth, amid speculation the issue was dead after a shock Republican election defeat. The Business Roundtable, an influential group representing top chief executives, said that fixing America's "broken immigration system" would unleash a powerful force that drives growth and bolsters the business sector.
The group issued a report laying out the economic case for immigration reform, which coincidentally landed as Washington political circles reeled unexpected defeat of Republican Party chieftain Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary election. Cantor, the U.S. House of Representatives majority leader, was trounced by a university professor backed by the radical conservative Tea Party, David Brat, who campaigned against Cantor's support of legislation that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to remain in the country and ecome U.S. citizens.

The defeat of Cantor, one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, raised warning flags to any Republican considering support for a path to citizenship to the country's 12 million illegal immigrants, analysts said. The Business Roundtable, in its new report, called for "sensible" reform, saying there were compelling reasons to fix a system that includes an ongoing flood of illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The numbers and the people tell the story: Immigration is an all-around success for America's economy, and fixing the system would produce a win-win deal to the benefit of both immigrants and native-born Americans," said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, and chair of the BRT's immigration committee. The report cited data from the Bipartisan Policy Center estimating that reform would increase gross domestic product, the broad measure of the economy's goods and services, by 4.8 percent over 20 years and decrease federal deficits by $1.2 trillion.

The report also featured the success stories of some immigrant executives, including Carlos Rodriguez, head of payrolls firm ADP, who fled Castro's Cuba as a boy with his family. Former U.S. Accenture CEO Jorge Benitez also arrived in the U.S. as a Cuban political refugee, while Indian national Krish Prabhu, now chief technology officer at AT&T, came to the U.S. for study and has lived in the country for nearly 40 years as a permanent resident.

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