Indy group pushes for total overhaul of U.S. immigration system

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Groups across the country Wednesday pushed for immigration reform. The movement is called The Right to Reform campaign, organized by the New American Economy.

The group released the findings of a new study Wednesday, which argue immigrants play a huge role in Indiana’s economy.

“Immigrants play a key role in the Indiana economy, contributing to industries such as manufacturing, construction,”said Mark Fisher, Vice President of Policy Development for the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

This group, comprised of the Indy Chamber, the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Indiana Builders Association, the Indiana Latino Institute, and the Indiana Farm Bureau, argued laws in the U.S. make it hard for people to hire hard-working immigrants.

That’s why they and hundreds of others across the country have joined the Right to Reform campaign, comprised of a collection of groups looking to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

“Every year, there’s hundreds of millions of dollars of crops that go unharvested and land that simply does not get planted due to the broken immigration system,” said Megan Ritter, the Executive Director of the Indiana Farm Bureau.

“Throughout our nation’s history, the immigrant community has played a vibrant and important role in the industry, often bringing their trade related expertise and skills to enhance the quality of our work,” said Rick Wajda, President of the Indiana Builders Association.

The Indiana Right to Reform team presented at a press conference Wednesday, Indiana statistics that argue immigrants play a pivotal part in Indiana’s economy. According to their study, more than 300,000 immigrants now call Indiana home. In 2014 they earned more than $8 billion, and four years earlier, in 2010, the study claims they added 14,000 new jobs to the Indiana economy.

“Political discourse sometimes and does gets into some interesting concepts at times,” said Patrick Tamm, President of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association.

The group is pushing for federal immigration reform and would not officially come out in support of proposals put forth by either presidential candidate.

New legislation for immigration reform may be difficult to pass though. Exit polling from Indiana’s primary in May show only 11% of voters believed immigration was a top issue.

“If given the opportunity like I was given, we will succeed and do the right thing by this country, because it is our country,” said Oscar Gutierrez, an immigrant himself who now sits on the Executive Board of the Indiana Latino Institute.

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