August 13, 2013
Chamber hosts Homeland Security Secretary for immigration reform meeting
US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined 20 local business leaders and representatives from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Monday morning for a discussion about immigration reform and the impact on area commerce.
The private meeting was held at the Chamber's offices, and is one of a series of visits that Secretary Napolitano is holding across the country with business leaders on the topic.
"Countries without a good immigration system do not thrive," said Secretary Napolitano. "We do not have an immigration system that meets our country's needs right now. At some point, you have to take it on. We need to bring people out of the shadows," she added.
Secretary Napolitano outlined her support for a four-pillar approach for immigration reform:
- Having adequate resources at the border of the Southwest United States
- Creating greater pressure on those who continue to employ illegal workers
- Reforming the current Visa process
- Dealing with those who are already here illegally (including a path to citizenship)
Immigration reform is a top national and local issue, and Chamber members recently voiced their concerns with members of Congress during a trip to the Capitol building in June. "The Chamber supports responsible immigration reform. Businesses need an immigration system that is fair, easy to comply with, responds to market forces and protects our national interests and security," said Matt Davis, Vice President of Government Affairs with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
The immigration issue is vital to our region's growth as the area continues to strive to attract and recruit top talent. Those themes were echoed by representatives from organizations including Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Procter & Gamble, and Northern Kentucky University.
Among the other business leaders in attendance were Terry Segerberg, Chamber member and Owner of Mesa Industries, Inc. of Cincinnati. "I have more confidence now in the blended solution, with border security and a path to citizenship," Segerberg said. Mesa Industries also has offices in Houston and Los Angeles and says more than 90% of her employees in her Los Angeles office are Hispanic.