80th Annual Meeting


 

WHEREAS, the United States is a nation of immigrants, a nation in which immigrants have made and continue to make important contributions to both our economy and culture; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has historically in policy and actions recognized the economic contribution that immigrants have made to their communities by creating new jobs, developing innovative products and ideas, and complementing the skills of the U.S.-born workforce; and

WHEREAS, immigrants are the overwhelming majority of workers in the agriculture sector, harvesting the food that Americans eat; and

WHEREAS, according to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, households headed by undocumented immigrants paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2010; and

WHEREAS, studies have shown that immigrants are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business than non-immigrants and the latest estimates by the Small Business Administration indicate that immigrant business owners generate $67 billion in U.S. business income; and

WHEREAS, in order to stay globally competitive, the U.S. will need to retain the best and brightest university talent, including foreign born students; and

WHEREAS, immigrants currently represent 24 percent of U.S. scientists and 47 percent of U.S. engineers with bachelor or doctorate degrees; and

WHEREAS, according to the Congressional Budget Office, passage of the DREAM Act, a bill which allows unauthorized immigrant youth who entered the U.S. as children to earn a legal status if they meet rigorous requirements such as serving in the U.S. military or attending college, would reduce the deficit by $1.5 billion over the next 10 years due to increased revenue collected from higher wages; and

WHEREAS, worksites should be places that grow the economy and there should be accountability for businesses that break the law by taking advantage of undocumented workers; and

WHEREAS, the lack of a comprehensive immigration policy has resulted in the exploitation of workers who provide needed services to communities, and the exporting of talented and skilled students; and

WHEREAS, it is unlikely, undesirable, and unreasonably costly to expect that immigration enforcement will remove more than 10 million undocumented immigrants from the interior of the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, the preferable policy outcome is for unauthorized immigrants to get on the right side of the law or face removal; and

WHEREAS, immigrants have demonstrated their patriotism through their valor and bravery in defending this country in numerous military conflicts; and

WHEREAS, by restoring order to our immigration system, such reform will make our nation more secure as well as meet our labor needs and uphold our basic values as a nation; and

WHEREAS, studies have revealed that increased violence across the border in Mexico can be directly attributed to illegal drug trafficking fueled in no small part by money and weapons that are flowing from the United States into Mexico and that this violence is negatively impacting border trade, border relations and Mexico’s ability to assist the U.S. preserve the integrity of our southern border; and

WHEREAS, border security is critical to the safety, quality of life, and economic prosperity of the border regions of the United States; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes that it is the responsibility of the federal government to enforce borders and implement immigration policy,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors reaffirms its call for a comprehensive immigration policy and urges the President and Congress to take action to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such legislation should contain the following essential elements:

  • The DREAM Act

  • The AgJobs proposal to ensure a legal workforce in the agricultural industry

  • Dedicated resources to secure the border for both security and trade purposes

  • A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that require a background check, payment of fines and other accountability measures

  • Policies that encourage foreign students to stay in the U.S. to contribute to our economy, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for increased federal resources targeted at improving interdiction at our borders for both north and southbound contraband, including funds, weapons and drugs, and urges the United States government to embrace technological solutions and the development of multilateral agreements to establish a North American security plan to improve border security; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Mayors should lead constructive dialogues in their cities to foster realistic solutions to fixing our broken immigration system to enhance our national security and economy.


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2012