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Immigration Overhaul Is A Win For All Of Us

This editorial was originally published in The Commercial Appeal and on

Immigration Reform Twitter Chat #ImmReform
With Chamber President & CEO John Moore

Send your questions to 
@JohnMoore2 on
Monday, August 26th 1:15-1:30 pm


An overhaul of our immigration system is long overdue and the pieces are now in place to remedy that with a system that addresses the modern challenges we face in the business community and the nation.

We pride ourselves on being global thinkers – we aspire to being a part of the global economy. It’s time to back that thinking up with a modern immigration system that can attract, then keep in the U.S. the world’s top students, innovators, entrepreneurs and job creators.

More and more baby boomers are hitting retirement age every day, adding to an intense competition for the available workforce and it is vital that our businesses in Memphis be able to recruit and deploy workers to fill both the high- and low-skilled sectors of our economy. This gives us an economic imperative to join the myriad of other countries who are changing their laws in order to benefit from a pool of global resources. We face a competitive disadvantage because our industries must struggle to fill positions due to an ineffective, inefficient, and outdated system and policies.

Our immigration system has not changed in any substantive way in nearly 50 years! The reform legislation passed by the U.S. Senate and now being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives addresses these long-overdue issues. Thanks to both Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker for their support of immigration reform, our country may finally have the opportunity to approach this issue with common-sense policies.

Senator Bob Corker is to be commended for the approach taken in his amendment to the Senate bill. It addresses undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. and adds stopgap measures to protect our borders, stem the tide of illegal immigrants and curtail visa overstays, which account for 40 percent of those unlawfully present in our country.

Under this legislation, undocumented immigrants already here get the opportunity to stay. They apply as “registered provisional immigrants” (RPIs) and pay a $500 fine and some administrative fees.

The bill repairs the immigration system and creates this simple process to allow the 11 million or more undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States and immediately begin paying taxes and contributing to the society they want to join. They begin the process to earn citizenship over a period of several years. It doesn’t open the floodgates to millions of new immigrants. On the contrary, Sen. Corker explains. The 11 million-plus are already here. This new status brings them out of the shadows and into productive lives with access to the benefits and freedoms that make this country great.

“It’s a win for our country, and it’s the moral thing to do,” Corker said.

We have highly skilled immigrants living right here in Memphis and many more attending our colleges and universities. Immigration reform gives them the chance to stay here - to start businesses, and create jobs. It opens the door for more foreign investment, helps create an increased demand for goods and services and, simply put, it creates an even bigger talent pool at a time when we need it.

The Greater Memphis Chamber has joined a growing coalition of Tennessee business, civic and community leaders who believe it is time for Congress to take action to create a modern immigration system
  • That actually works -- is easier to understand, navigate and implement;
  • That ensures all immigration laws are enforced, obeyed and our borders secured;
  • To attract, then keep the world’s top students, innovators, entrepreneurs and job creators here in the U.S.;
  • That recruits and deploys the workers we need to fill both the high- and low-skilled sectors of our economy;
  • That brings nearly 11 million undocumented workers currently living in the shadows into the legal economy so they can learn our language and history, pay more in taxes and contribute to a growing American economy.

-- Andre Dean, Vice President, Public Policy & Community Affairs

The Greater Memphis Chamber believes the time is right to contact Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Bob Corker, Rep. Fincher and Rep. Cohen to encourage them to work toward bipartisan immigration reform that secures our borders, addresses our workforce needs and provides a pathway toward earned citizenship.

Senator Lamar Alexander
(202) 224-4944
Senator Bob Corker
(202) 224-3344
U.S. Representative Stephen Fincher
(202) 225-4714
U.S. Representative Stephen Cohen
(202) 225-3265

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