Illinois Business Coalition Calls For Immigration Overhaul

Jul 17, 2013

A somewhat unlikely coalition is calling on Illinois' Congressional delegation to support an overhaul of the nation's immigration policy.       


At a Springfield roundtable discussing immigration, Mark Peters, an attorney with Peoria-based Caterpillar, started off his remarks by saying: "This would be a ... a really bad preface to a poor joke about a sheriff, a lawyer and a priest going into a bar..."

To Peters' right sat the Kane County sheriff, a director of the state farm bureau and a Catholic priest -- all of whom say Congress needs to address what they say is the nation's broken immigration system.

Peters never finished the joke.  Rather, he starkly said caps on green cards and temporary visas are hurting the Fortune 500 company.

The Illinois Farm Bureau's Adam Nielsen says dairies across Illinois wouldn't be able to operate without immigrant labor. Nor could agriculture processing plants, like in Beardstown and the Quad Cities.

"You have to look a little beyond the corn and soybeans to see it, but it's there.  These are jobs that Americans simply will not work," Nielsen said. 

The coalition is trying to convince Congressmen from downstate to support its demands, but an aide to U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R - Taylorville)  says 80-percent of the constituents the office has heard from do not support amnesty-style pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.