BOSTON, MA – Friday, Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Angus King (I-ME) and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, Colby College President David Greene, Barber and Tyson Foods Executive David Barber, Exelon Chairman Emeritus John Rowe, HYM Investments Group Managing Director Thomas N. O’Brien and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals President Yvonne Greenstreet joined over 500 business leaders, CEOs, University Presidents, Dreamers, Essential Workers, and advocates gathered to discuss immigration solutions in 2021 at the New England Business Immigration Summit.
According to the MIRA Coalition who co-hosted the event, the summit aimed to educate, engage and motivate a broad group of business, university and elected leaders in New England on the importance of passing commonsense federal and state immigration reform measures. The group is looking for optiions which include high and low-skilled visas, agricultural visas and a path to legalization and citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers, starting with Dreamers, TPS holders and essential workers.
The summit was co-hosted by the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition (MBIC), the Maine Business Immigration Coalition (MeBIC), the American Business Immigration Coalition, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education & Immigration, the New England Council, AILA New England and the EOS Foundation.
Senator Ed Markey discussed his thoughts on immigration reform at the Summit.
“Immigrants are business owners, they are your colleagues and employees. Immigrants have kept our country and businesses running during the coronavirus pandemic and have been on the frontlines of this public health crisis since Day 1. We have a moral obligation to pass bold and immediate immigration reform that recognizes the dignity of every person and I am inspired today as I see the greatest business minds across New England come together to fight for sensible and humane immigration reform.”
Senator Angus King stated the he feels that immigrants will be an important part of the post-pandemic economy.
“The coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of people around the nation to lose their jobs through no fault of their own, but as we rebuild, business owners will soon desperately need good people to fill their new and revitalized positions,” said Senator Angus King (I-Maine). “Welcoming immigrants, along with their new ideas and inspirations, will help fill these positions and benefit our society in the process. America is a nation built on immigration, and we would not have the strengths that we have today without the historic contributions of immigrants to our society and our economy. I want to commend the Maine Business Immigration Coalition and others at today’s summit for shining a light on the many contributions of immigrants to our region, and I look forward to working alongside many of you to empower our immigrants and bolster our post-pandemic economy.”
David A. Greene, President, Colby College, expressed that immigrants need to stay in the country so we can tap into their potential.
“It is essential that we not only attract talented individuals from across the globe to our universities but that we have a clear set of incentives to benefit from the talents and productivity of these individuals when they graduate. We need to keep them here.”
Rebecca Shi, Executive Director of ABIC, feels that immigrants are an essential part of the country’s post-pandemic recovery.
“Immigrants are key to the pandemic recovery. Over 70% of immigrants work in an essential sector. They contribute to $1 trillion in GDP and $340 billion in taxes each year. We support President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 that Sen. Menendez and Representative Sanchez introduced this week. We also support bipartisan solutions with majority American support like the Durbin / Graham Dream Act, the Farmworker Modernization Act and citizenship for essential workers. Our bottom line is this: doing nothing on immigration in 2021 is unacceptable.”
Eva Millona, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition and President and CEO of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, stated that a better immigration policy would benefit multiple sectors.
“The United States has the opportunity to advance a 21st-century immigration policy that benefits business and the economy, keeps families together, protects essential workers, reestablishes our prominent role on the world stage, and reflects the values of who we are as a nation. We are grateful to the elected officials, members of our business and university communities, and advocates who participated in the New England Business Immigration Summit, and we look forward to working together to support the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and fix our dysfunctional and outdated immigration system.”