Yesterday, the Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan group supporting immigration reform founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced high-profile business leaders from Arizona as the newest members of the group, including the heads of US Airways and PetSmart. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is also a co-chairman of the group.
“The Arizona companies joining our effort are proof that in all quarters of the country and in all sectors of the economy there is demand for a smarter, more sensible immigration strategy,” Bloomberg, who serves as co-chair of the group, said.”We need reform that will both secure our borders and do more to attract and keep the workers necessary for American businesses to compete in the 21st century.”
Together, the airline, retail, healthcare and construction sectors represented by these businesses employ 145,000 people and have revenue that amounts to over 50 billion U.S. dollars annually.
“The fact is that immigrants play an integral role in the American economy,” Philip Francis, Executive Chairman of Petsmart, said. “Now is the time for reasonable reform that protects our borders and preserves our ability to compete in the global economy.”
The addition of these companies headquartered in Arizona is particularly significant because of the high level of controversy surrounding a stringent anti-immigrant measure that the state passed earlier this year. A national outcry over SB 1070 led some to call for a boycott of all Arizona-based companies.