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Michigan business groups push back against political arguments over immigration

Tomasz Zajda
Adobe Stock

Business groups across Michigan say they’re worried election year politics will get in the way of developing sensible immigration plans.

The Detroit Regional Chamber, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Small Business Association of Michigan have all signed a statement on immigration.
They’re asking the Legislature and Michigan members of Congress to support policies that encourage immigration.

“Yes, this is a security issue, but this is also an economic issue that immigrants contribute to the economy, that we need to come together and find a sensible path forward,” says Brad Williams with the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Williams says heated rhetoric surrounding the issue makes it difficult to create immigration policies that help businesses seeking workers in a tight labor market.

Omar Cuevas is with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. He says there are more jobs right now than workers with the skills to fill them.

“We are looking at, how do we create a sense of belonging? We know that new Americans have a significant economic impact. So, not only is it the right thing to do to make sure people feel welcome, but also, there is an economic factor here,” he says.

The groups say one of the biggest problems is that current immigration policy is too complex to be easily navigated by immigrants and employers.

But they also say developing sensible policies that work for immigrants and for businesses will probably have to wait until after this year’s elections.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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