As of 2011, Hispanics account for 16% of the U.S. population at 52 million. By 2050, the Hispanicpopulation is estimated to surpass 130 million. The Hispanic labor force grew 54% from2000-2010. Hispanics are projected to account for 74% of the 10.5 million workers added to the work force from 2010-2020.
WHEREAS, over the last twenty years the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando(Chamber) represents the essential voice of the Hispanic business community in Central Florida; and WHEREAS, the Chamber’s interest in engaging in public policy is to promote business and economic development in Central Florida; and WHEREAS, immigration policy draws significant interest in Central Florida’s culturally diverse population due to its profound impact on economic development dependent on a region with an appropriately-skilled labor force; and WHEREAS, current immigration laws inadequately provide a balanced, workable solution for companies and essential workers needed in crucial areas of commerce including, but not limited to, construction, agriculture, healthcare, hospitality, food-service industry, transportation, technology, and skilled labor positions vital to the development of Central Florida; and WHEREAS, bridge cities within Central Florida provide leadership in the medical, technological, and simulation industries requiring professionals in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies; and WHEREAS, every 100 H-1B visas create 183 jobs for U.S. workers; every 100 H-2B visas create 464 jobs for U.S. workers; and in 2012, the EB-5 foreign investor program added $6.8 billion to the economy creating 50,000 U.S. jobs; and WHEREAS, U.S. Department of Homeland Security received over 170,000 H-1B visa applications to cover the allotted 65,000 H-1B visas for fiscal year 2015; and WHEREAS, immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a new business than nonimmigrants; and WHEREAS, Hispanic-owned business revenue increased 30% from 2007 to an estimated $468 billion in 2013; and WHEREAS, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) began the process of integrating young people to contribute to the economy, a more permanent solution is needed to ensure their full potential to achieve the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 thereby ensuring our global competitiveness; and WHEREAS, over the next ten years, a path to earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants would result in a boost to 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, and add about 2 million jobs to the U.S. economy; and WHEREAS, the hiring of undocumented workers gives companies an unfair advantage of depressed wages against companies playing by the rules and exploits immigrants; and THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THIS 30TH DAY OF JULY 2014 that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando supports the following principles in establishing meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform:
Our method for visa selection must be responsive and effective in meeting the demands of our economy. As the unemployment rate decreases, a higher number of H-1B visas should become available ensuring our businesses maintain their necessary staffing to continue economic development. When the unemployment rate increases, H-1B visa availability should be limited to normal levels protecting the American labor force. Immigrants who are twice as likely to start a new business are predicted to be a driving force in job creation. It is essential to acknowledge the significant economic contributions immigrants make as consumers, entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and workers. This economic impact can only be achieved through a path to citizenship under comprehensive immigration reform and not through piecemeal legislation.
Policy should be geared towards preventing employers from hiring undocumented workers through a workable verification system without creating undue burdens upon employers and employees. Verifying employment authorization not only levels the playing field among competing businesses, but also discourages future circumvention of our immigration laws. Success of our immigration policy relies upon everyone playing by the same rules. Many individuals enter the United States as children through no choice of their own. These individuals have the potential to significantly impact our communities and their removal is counterproductive. Furthermore, failure to address their parents’ immigration status results in broken families having a negative impact in our economy and society. Comprehensive immigration legislation must expand on the success of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Our interests and values as Americans should reflect our nation’s commitment to fairness and equality.
An enforcement-only approach fails to address the emerging economic needs of our communities. Furthermore, since at least 2007, the federal government effected an enforcement-only policy and as such, continues to only narrowly address a broken immigration system which requires a more comprehensive solution. We must encourage a reasonable path for undocumented immigrants to seek legalization adhering to certain principles including payment of a significant fine, a lack of a felony record, and a substantial period of time in the United States. Throughout their path to citizenship, undocumented individuals should be safe from removal, be allowed to work, and be allowed to travel home to visit family.
FEDERAL ISSUE AND SECURITY
Immigration is a federal policy issue not to be left to the States to interpret. One standard immigration policy encourages equal protection nationwide, discourages local enforcement agencies from misinterpreting federal law, encourages safe communities willing to cooperate with local law enforcement, and protects our borders. National security is of utmost importance and additional resources in all points of entry is encouraged. Current policy prevents undocumented individuals from obtaining identification documents. This policy is counterintuitive. Appropriate government-issued identification for individuals within our borders becomes a security tool for law enforcement.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando supports open dialogue with community and political leaders bringing forth a collaborative effort in creating a comprehensive approach to immigration policy affecting our businesses and community alike.