Policy: Economy

Business leaders to make immigration reform push

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Sean Higgins,Immigration,Economy,Chambers of Commerce,Manufacturing

Six of the nation's top big business coalitions will throw their weight behind the current push to get Congress to take up a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The groups will call for a "national day of action" in Washington and key congressional districts.

Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons, Business Roundtable President John Engler and Western Growers President Tom Nassif will make the announcement at an event next week at the National Press Club. Other groups joining in the effort include the American Farm Bureau Association and the Partnership for a New American Economy.

The groups promises they will sponsor "events in more than 40 congressional districts across 20 states" according to a statement released Thursday.

Big business groups have long favored a relatively open immigration policy, arguing it benefits the overall economy. Critics charge they simply want easier access to cheap labor.

The groups have been relatively low-key in the current debate, but have lately stepped up their efforts, perhaps fearing that time is running out to get anything through Congress.

The Chamber's Donohue said in a statement Monday that he was "deeply disappointed" that no legislation has gotten through Congress: "Working with our allies in law enforcement, the faith-based community, and other civic organizations, the Chamber will continue to use every resource at its disposal to foster meaningful reform as soon as possible. We will not let up."

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