A resolution before the Unicameral calls on Nebraska’s Congressional delegation to pass immigration reform. The measure (LR-399) was authored by Sen. John Wightman of Lexington and has a dozen co-sponsors.
Jim Partington, executive director of the Nebraska Restaurant Association, says his group supports the comprehensive immigration measure that’s passed the Senate, but won’t oppose getting it done bit by bit.
“We don’t reject any approach that arrives at the same conclusion in the end,” Partington says. “Basically, we’d like those principles already incorporated in that legislation to be enacted, even if it’s done piecemeal.”
Partington says immigration reform is critical to the nation’s workforce and the economy.
“A strategic imperative for the United States of America, given the future demographics that we see facing us,” Partington says, “we’re going to have a declining population of the workforce and we’re going to need to replace some of the Baby Boomers that are in the process of leaving the workforce now.”
He says a fix to the immigration problem is needed in order to stay competitive internationally.
“For years, we were the only country that could actually bring in immigrants and assimilate them as full citizens of the United States within one generation,” Partington says. “Now there’s a couple others, like Australia and Canada, competing with us. That’s our big advantage, our ability to bring in these people, rejuvenate our workforce, replenish it and use their talents to keep our economy growing.”
The resolution asks that immigration reform “enacted by Congress should recognize the need to protect the borders of the United States, maintain respect for the law, embody fairness, and protect families,” while also recognizing “the important role that immigrant Americans play as entrepreneurs, workers, taxpayers, and family members.”
Partington’s group is part of a coalition including the Cattlemen’s Association, Nebraska League of Women Voters and eight other groups.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton