Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–October 26, 2006–The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), the largest and most influential advocate for the nation’s two million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. issues the following statement regarding the planned signing by President Bush of the U.S. Mexico Border Bill that will put in place a 700-mile long fence along the southern border.
“On behalf of our USHCC Board of Directors, we are extremely disappointed by the President’s decision to sign the U.S.-Mexico Border Bill into law and do it during a nationally-televised White House ceremony. Rather than cheering and applauding the President and our Congressional leaders for a law that promotes misguided enforcement- only legislation that builds fences between allies, hurts small businesses and pushes 12 million people further into the shadows, we should be demanding that our national leadership seek comprehensive solutions to this complex issue. We further call on the President and those Congressional leaders that originally promised to seek true comprehensive reform to live up to their commitments.” said David C. Lizárraga, USHCC, Chairman of the Board of Directors.
By choosing to forego a realistic, comprehensive, common sense approach that would bring national security and continued economic prosperity for our nation, the President, joined by some members of Congress, has chosen to adopt a short-term, band-aid approach that fails to tackle immigration reform at its core. This law provides absolutely no solution for the millions of people already living here in hopes of finding a better life for themselves and for their families.
‘The USHCC is a business organization, but we are an organization with a Hispanic heart; and we understand the invaluable contributions made by hard-working immigrants, small business owners and entrepreneurs that have played a major role in fueling the growth and economic prosperity of this great nation for generations. As business owners, we want strong homeland security but we object to the continued ‘demonization’ of immigrants and the business community by many members of Congress. Immigrants fulfill an enormous gap in the U.S. labor force by serving in jobs that Americans simply don’t want to take or perform. We should be seeking real solutions rather than celebrating laws that polarize and divide for the sake of political expediency,” said Michael L. Barrera, President & CEO, USHCC.
The U.S. recently commemorated a national population milestone by surpassing the 300 million mark. We understand that a growing economy needs a growing population. Any immigration solution that ignores the needs of our economy will only delay reform and promote further illegal immigration, not end it. The President obviously recognized this when he rightfully stated this past May during a nationally-televised address to the nation from the Oval office: ‘An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together or none will be solved at all….We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone’s fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain. We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions.’ [White House Transcript, May 2006]
The USHCC couldn’t agree more.