/ Modified oct 30, 2013 8:05 a.m.

AZ Business Groups Lobby for Immigration Reform

US businesses head to DC, including AZ Chamber visiting all 9 AZ House members to cite positive economic impact.


The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce joined hundreds of businesses in Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for immigration reform.

The effort is the latest in a string of events that aim to convince the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on bills to change immigration laws and border security policies.

Arizona is interested in the effort because the state needs labor from all over the world, said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

Changes to immigration laws will have a positive effect on the economy, he said.

“We believe it would be like rocket fuel for Arizona’s economy," Hamer said.

He met with all nine of Arizona's members of the U.S. House of Representatives this week. He said the chamber wants them to act quickly on reform, citing frustration that the issue has been delayed in the House by the fiscal debates.

The U.S. Senate passed an immigration reform bill in June.

Arizona's representatives have a unique perspective on the impact of federal immigration decisions, or lack of decisions, he said.

“They understand that the fact that it’s been so dysfunctional has put extraordinary stress on state lawmakers in Arizona to address immigration.”

The chamber is pushing for reform with other business leaders in Arizona.

“As the economy is picking up we’re hearing that there are gaps in the workforce,” Hamer said.

Hamer said there is no argument not to act on immigration now.

"The economic case for immigration reform is overwhelming. The humanitarian case for immigration reform is overwhelming. The border security case for immigration reform is overwhelming,” he said.

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