CA Representatives, DREAMers, Tech Entrepreneurs, CA Growers Urge Full California House Delegation to Support Immigration Reform Legislation This Year
(San Francisco, CA) — FWD.us today launched the FWD California campaign, calling on every member of the California U.S. House of Representatives delegation to support bringing immigration reform legislation to a vote this year. Representative Scott Peters (CA-52), FWD.us Executive Director Todd Schulte, tech entrepreneur Alex Torrenegra, DREAMer Sarahi Salamanca, and California grape grower and fourth-generation family farmer Ryan Zaninovich discussed why passing immigration reform legislation is critical to maintaining California’s economic competitiveness, and called on California’s congressional delegation to advocate aggressively for bringing reform legislation to a vote this year.
“Reforming our broken immigration system is a top priority for business, labor, faith, and agricultural communities across the country,” Representative Scott Peters said. “It will grow the San Diego, California, and national economies and help keep our country globally competitive. If we want the next big company to get started or scientific discovery to be made here in America, this has to get done. I firmly believe that reform deserves a vote in the House of Representatives and will continue pushing for that until it happens.”
“I was brought to this country when I was four years old. I have been here for 20 years, and I have worked hard to contribute in my community to make it a better place,” said DREAMer Sarahi Salamanca. “This is the only place I know as my home because my parents decided to bring us where we could have a better life and a brighter future. I pray that members of Congress understand one day that our parents brought us here for the same reason their ancestors left their native countries many years ago: a better life.”
Joe Green, President & Founder, FWD.us, said, “We expect every member of California’s House delegation to stand strong and actively demand that Republican leadership bring legislation to a vote in 2014. The stakes are too high in my home state of California- and across the country - if Congress fails to fix the broken immigration system. The time is now for House Republicans to act on reform.”
“By closing our doors to immigrant entrepreneurs, we are allowing other nations to welcome them with open arms, and we are losing potential U.S. jobs and revenue,” added Alex Torrenegra, Founder and CEO of Bunny Inc. and Torrenegra Labs. “Today, what we are seeing is a country that is turning away hard-working immigrants who want to contribute to the U.S. economy - even though more than 200 Fortune 500 companies that were founded by immigrants. Imagine the repercussions on the U.S. economy if these companies were turned off by the U.S. attitude toward immigrants and chose to build elsewhere. That's why I'm joining tech entrepreneurs throughout California to call on all of our elected congressional representatives to help bring reform legislation to a vote this year.”
Ryan Zaninovich of V.B. Zaninovich and Sons, a California grape grower and fourth-generation family farmer, added, “The importance of immigration reform for domestic food production across the country, as well as to California’s economy - where this state’s farm gate value alone totals approximately $45 billion annually - cannot be overstated. We have kicked this can down the road for far too long, and California's entire House delegation must act now to push for a vote on immigration reform legislation.”
As the fifth-largest economy in the world, arguably no other state in the country has as much to gain as California from fixing the country’s fundamentally broken immigration system. The state of California would see enormous economic benefits from immigration reform across all sectors of its economy, particularly in agriculture and tech, industries that are critically important to the state.
Additionally, an estimated 2 million of the U.S.’ population of 11 million undocumented immigrants lives in California. Immigration reform would bring the undocumented out of the shadows and keep families together, allowing the vast majority of these aspiring Americans who are already contributing to California’s economy and communities to do so fully.
The FWD California campaign will include ramping up FWD.us’ significant advocacy efforts already underway in the state, with activities such as digital advocacy campaigns; highlighting stories of immigrant entrepreneurs and immigrants' incredible contributions to California's past, present, and future; hosting events in key districts with stakeholders of the broad, diverse coalition of organizations supporting reform, such as the faith community, agriculture, tech and business leaders, advocates and community members, all with the goal of sending a clear message to California's full delegation to the House of Representatives: with so much at stake for Californians, every single member should be pushing for House Republicans to bring immigration reform legislation to a vote this year.