Making Government Work

Many Politicians Are Dragging Their Feet on Immigration Reform. But This CEO Says It’s Time

July 2, 2014
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Many Politicians Are Dragging Their Feet on Immigration Reform. But This CEO Says It’s Time
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The CEO of Motorola Solutions says a delay in action will harm businesses and the "fragile" economy.

Last week several news organizations including the Washington Post and Politico reported that many Washington insiders feel any hope for immigration reform in the near future is “dead,” following the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his primary race. But those outside the Beltway aren’t so pessimistic. In a recent speech at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Greg Brown, the CEO and Chairman of Motorola Solutions, said, “Why is the timing not right for this? I find that unacceptable.”

According to Anna Marie Kukec of the Daily Herald, Brown plans to continue to advocate for immigration reform and rally other business leaders to do so, until it’s revived. According to Brown, it just makes good business sense at a time when the economy remains “fragile.”

Brown said that American businesses cannot find workers with the skills they need, due to limited visas available for high-skilled workers. He believes that hiring such international workers does not take jobs from Americans—on the contrary, it creates jobs for them.

“Immigrant workers are job generators themselves,” he said. “They have a job multiplier effect. So if our goal is to grow a dynamic environment for businesses to be created, grow and thrive, we ought to care about this as a state.”

Motorola Solutions runs programs to encourage American kids to become engineers, working with the Chicago Public Library Foundation, the Museum of Science and Industry, school districts and other organizations. “It’s about preparing the workforce for the jobs that will keep America competitive and enable kids to succeed in the 21st century,” Brown said. “But, unfortunately, it takes 18 years to make an engineer, and the crisis for talent is now.”

MORE: Can An Influx of Immigrants Bolster Michigan’s Economy?

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