In the wake of President Obama’s recently proposed immigration policy, Chamber President and CEO Richard Perez, along with other civic leaders from around the country, met last week in Washington DC for a White House summit on immigration issues.
“I was very honored and appreciative of the opportunity to go to D.C., and to ask questions about a very important issue for San Antonio businesses,” says Perez.
With the mood in Washington D.C. divisive to say the least, high level leaders along with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano sat down to discuss all the things the federal government has done and what still needs to be done with regard to making the immigration process more effective.
“When you talk about safeguarding our border, [the administration] argues that this issue is being solved with a significant increase in federal funding, more training and better use of technology than ever before,” says Perez. “Now, let’s focus on the second part and that is the comprehensive immigration reform.”
The main focus of the meeting was to discuss the strategy of how to make the reforms happen.
Perez explains that the business community is mainly concerned with three pieces of comprehensive immigration reform: safeguarding the border, figuring out a more efficient visa process, and developing a way to address undocumented immigrants living here.
“We need to find a way so that workers, who have skills we really need in our companies, can remain in the country to fill positions that we cannot fill,” adds Perez, who feels that these workers could be a big help to local businesses.
Will the new proposal actually make it through to fruition? “I think that the possibility is probably 60/40. That is, 60 that it won’t happen, 40 that it may,” Perez said. “But, I’m hopeful. We will find out the parameters of the proposal in the next few weeks and I believe we can find common ground that all of us can support so we can see our nation’s leaders move on positive reform.”