Immigration Roundtable Brings Conservatives to the DiscussionPublished: Thursday, February 13, 2014
The “Immigration Bottom Line 2014” roundtable, held in Chicago February 4, brought out some unexpected pro-immigration voices: staunchly Republican ones. Presenters including former GOP Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert spoke candidly about new economic strength for the US and new voters for the Republican Party: both gains that could result from immigration reform. Indeed, a representative of a health care industry group attending the program said medical care facilities are anxiously awaiting immigration reform to fill numerous anticipated openings across a wide range of positions. And, one speaker from downstate Illinois noted recent narrow margins of Democratic victory in some voting districts where immigration reform could change the picture. Finally, a factor no speaker mentioned, but which audience members could be heard discussing, is the dropping fertility rate in the U.S: well below the “replacement rate” for the population.
In addition to religious and social justice organizations roundtable sponsors included the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Restaurant Association, Illinois Manufacturers' Association, Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois.