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March 04, 2011
Investors Call for Immigration Reform that Protects Undocumented Immigrants
    by Robert Kropp

A coalition of more than 60 institutional investors advocate for reform measures that provide for economic growth while protecting the human rights of immigrants.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "State legislatures enacted a record number of laws and resolutions addressing immigration issues in 2010." A total of 346 immigration laws were passed last year, and an additional ten were vetoed by governors. Most notorious among them was the law passed in Arizona, which would allow police to demand proof of immigration status from anyone. At least 15 states are reportedly considering immigration laws that copy the harsh provisions of Arizona.

Recognizing the long-term threat of such laws to the economic security of a nation built upon immigration, a coalition of big-city mayors and business was formed to advocate for sensible immigration reform. The principles espoused by the Partnership for a New American Economy include increasing opportunities for immigrants to enter the national workforce and establishing a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants currently living in the US.

Now, a group of more than 60 institutional investors, with over $145 billion in assets under management, have joined the call for immigration policy reform. According to a press release, "In a political climate marked by growing anti-immigrant rhetoric, this diverse group of investment leaders is pushing for a national immigration policy that not only provides the basis for long-term economic growth, but addresses a crucial human rights issue in America."

Stating that greater corporate involvement in immigration policy reform is necessary, the press release continues, "Immigration reform is imperative…to ensure a competitive US labor force, a more prosperous economy for all Americans, and a cessation of exploitation and abuse in industries that rely heavily on immigrant workers."

Signatories to the letter sent to CEOs of major American corporations include Boston Common Asset Management, Mercy Investment Services, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and Walden Asset Management.

The letter states, "Our businesses need these workers to meet the diverse demands of a thriving economy."

"As CEO," the letter continues, "We are asking you to speak publicly in support of reform that includes a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants."

According to the Proxy Preview 2011 published by As You Sow last month, a shareowner proposal submitted by Northstar Asset Management requests that Tempe-based First Solar report on the potential risks and costs associated with the impact of Arizona's strict anti-immigration law.


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