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Press Release
May 12, 2005
Contact: Ellen Riegel Bisnath
212-599-7000 ext. 342

Conservatives and Business Representatives
Hail McCain-Kennedy Immigration Bill

WASHINGTON, DC: “Immigration is one of the most urgent issues facing the nation. Our immigration system is broken. It must be fixed – for the sake of our economy and our national security. We warmly welcome this effort to craft a solution that will permit us to retake control of our borders and reestablish the rule of law in our communities,” stated a letter praising the McCain-Kennedy bill signed by conservatives and business leaders.

“I and many of my conservative colleagues are particularly happy with five elements of the bill that address many of the issues that anger Americans,” said Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Tamar Jacoby, speaking for a group that includes Jeff Bell, Principal, Capital City Partners; Linda Chavez, Columnist and President, Center for Equal Opportunity; Larry Cirignano, Executive Director, CatholicVote.Org; Cesar Conda, Former Assistant for Domestic Policy to Vice President Dick Cheney; Lee Culpepper, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy, National Restaurant Association; Hal Daub, President and CEO, American Health Care Association; John Gay, Vice President, Government Relations, International Franchise Association; Ed Goeas, President and CEO, The Tarrance Group; Randel Johnson, Vice President, Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Jack Kemp, Former Congressman and Cabinet Secretary; Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform; Laura Reiff, Co-Chair, Essential Worker Immigration Coalition; and Rick Swartz.

The five elements that the group singled out as significant changes to immigration policy are:

  • Real enforcement with consequences.  The McCain-Kennedy bill sets realistic immigration ceilings and provides for an array of tough, smart enforcement measures – including a new, more practical system to ensure that all employers who hire immigrant workers can comply with the new law.
  • Stronger security in an age of terrorism.  The McCain-Kennedy bill strengthens our borders. By creating legal channels for foreign laborers to enter the U.S. through regulated border crossings, we free up border agents to focus their energy on terrorists, drug smugglers and other criminals.
  • Boost economic growth. The McCain-Kennedy bill streamlines the process for matching American employers with foreign workers—the best way of keeping our economy growing robustly.
  • Realism about illegal immigrants. The McCain-Kennedy bill recognizes that we cannot fix the immigration system without eliminating the existing underground economy – but also penalizes illegal immigrants and makes them go to the back of the line to wait their turn for permanent visas.
  • Helping immigrants become Americans. The McCain-Kennedy bill creates a public-private foundation to pay for English and civics classes.

“My colleagues and I look forward to the forthcoming debate about immigration reform and hope that others in Congress will join in this discussion. This bill is a critical step toward the solution to the problems posed by immigration. We praise Senators McCain and Kennedy and their House counterparts, Congressmen Jim Kolbe, Jeff Flake, and Luis Gutierrez for their work,” said Ms. Jacoby.

Ms. Jacoby is available to comment on the statement. Contact Ellen Riegel Bisnath at (212) 599-7000, ext. 342


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