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Open Letters

 

December 10, 2020

Ohio Congressional Delegation

United States Capitol

Washington, D.C.

Dear Honorable Ohio Congressional Delegation Members,

 

We are excited to share with you the news that Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions (OBIS) officially launched today! OBIS is a statewide coalition of chambers of commerce, trade associations, and individual businesses spanning all corners of the state focused on promoting responsible and common-sense immigration reform that strengthen our economy.

 

Over the past decade, immigrants have played a critical role in stabilizing Ohio’s population growth, revitalizing business corridors and boosting our state’s economy. Immigrants employ over 124,500 Ohioans, make up 13% of all STEM jobs and have paid $5.7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and reinjected a combined spending power of $14 billion into our economy in 2018 alone. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has only brought the role of immigrants in Ohio into sharper focus. New Americans fill vital roles in our response efforts — helping maintain our food supply pipeline, meet our healthcare needs, and sustain our educational system — and will play a critical role in Ohio’s recovery. As policymakers continue to navigate the response to this crisis, it is imperative that no Ohioans are left behind. Our immigration system must ensure that immigrants can continue to thrive in the years to come, further strengthening Ohio’s economy and recovery. 

 

Members of OBIS are committed to advancing immigration reforms at the local, state and federal levels, and are guided by the Ohio Compact on Immigration, a set of principles developed by OBIS members that seek to: strengthen our economy, attract and retain global talent, and bring new businesses to our state. We also believe in a data-driven approach to decision making, and to that end we are powered by the economic research of New American Economy (NAE), a bi-partisan research and advocacy organization.

 

Ohio’s businesses need immigration policies at the federal level that allow for more New Americans to further contribute to Ohio’s economy. These policies must be responsive to the needs of Ohio employers across the state, of every size and industry.  

 

“We have joined Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions because we know that immigration brings innovative, talented workers to Ohio,” said Alex Fischer, president and CEO, Columbus Partnership. “We must pursue immigration policies that meet the needs of the Columbus Region and its many growing employers." 

 

“Our primary focus at the Chamber is to drive economic growth and prosperity for Greater Akron by supporting the success of the business community,” said Steve Millard, President & CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber. “The history of Greater Akron is intertwined with the economic benefit of immigration – from the European, southern and Appalachian immigrants that made Akron one of America’s fastest growing cities in the early 20th century to a growing Nepalese community today, the success of our economy relies on continuing to inject and include new talent, energy and ideas from people that come to, and stay in, Greater Akron.”

 

“The members of the Ohio Grocers Association perform critical work ensuring that Ohioans have access to a safe and secure food supply. Immigrants play a vital role in this work,” said Kristin Mullins, President and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association. “We joined Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions to advocate for policies that strengthen Ohio’s food supply chain workforce.”

 

“Our membership is uniquely positioned to realize the impact of immigration on Ohio’s economy,” said Scott R. Williams, CEO, Ohio REALTORS. “Immigration has helped grow communities around our state, and REALTORS have been there to assist them in finding homes for their families. We joined Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions because we need immigration policies that allow more new Americans to put down roots in Ohio.”

  

The members of OBIS believe that immigration is not a partisan issue but an economic one. As the new Congress and federal Administration begin important work ahead, we would like to extend our offer to be a resource to help you better understand the importance of immigrants in our state and the need for a reasonable and responsive immigration system that will allow Ohio’s businesses and our economy to grow.

 
Warm Regards,

Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions 

BioOhio

Cincinnati Compass

Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber 

Chamber of Greater Springfield, Ohio

Columbus Chamber of Commerce

Columbus Partnership

Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Eastman & Smith LTD

Greater Akron Chamber 

Greater Cleveland Partnership

Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

Hispanic Chamber of Cincinnati USA

Lorain County Chamber of Commerce

Ohio Bankers League

Ohio Business Roundtable

Ohio Council for Homecare & Hospice

Ohio Grocers Association

Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association

Ohio Pharmacists Association

Ohio REALTORS

Ohio Restaurant Association

OhioX

Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce

Tri-Village Chamber Partnership

 

News

Opinion: Immigrants could play key role in economic recovery in Cleveland, the heartland

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Authored by Joe Cimperman, President of Global Cleveland, OBIS Coalition Member
June 23, 2021

Viewpoint: Immigration reform can help fix workforce shortages by attracting global talent

Columbus Business First 

Authored by Don DePerro, President and CEO of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, OBIS Coalition Member
May 27, 2021

 

Opinion: Immigrant workers crucial to Ohio's economic recovery

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Authored by Bryan Wright, Executive Director of Cincinnati Compass, and Jill P. Meyer, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, OBIS Coalition Members
December 26, 2020

Business, Industry Groups Form Statewide Immigration Reform Coalition

Hannah News Service, The Hannah Report

December 10, 2020

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 3, 2021

Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions
Statement on the Introduction of the Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act

COLUMBUS, OH— The Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions (OBIS) commends the bipartisan introduction of the Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act. Many of the policy proposals contained in this meaningful immigration bill are priority items for Ohio’s business community. These proposals will provide opportunities to strengthen our state’s  workforce, fill critical workforce gaps, and allow Ohio to attract and retain high-level talent.

 

OBIS is a coalition of nearly 40 businesses, trade associations, chambers of commerce, and economic development groups focused on making the economic and business case for a modernized immigration system that works for Ohio. As the voice of Ohio’s business community on immigration policy, OBIS is uniquely situated to provide feedback on this proposal and ensure it meets the workforce needs of our state’s businesses.

The EAGLE Act will phase out the seven percent (7%) per country cap on employment-based visas and raise the per country family sponsored visa limit from seven percent (7%) to fifteen percent (15%). This will ensure that the candidates for the visa program are judged primarily on merit and less by country of origin, which will result in higher quality workers legally entering the United States for employment. The EAGLE Act proposals are timely and important to Ohio’s business community as we struggle to find the talent necessary to fill essential positions. OBIS is looking forward to advocating on behalf of Ohio’s business community to enact these common sense immigration reforms that will increase the number of legal immigrants to the state, resulting in a strong and robust workforce.

Research from New American Economy has found that:
 

  • There are 549,537 immigrants in Ohio, representing 4.7% of the population

  • Immigrants paid $6.0 billion in taxes, including $2.0 billion in state and local taxes

  • Immigrants hold $15.1 billion in spending power that can be reinvested in the state and local economy through consumer spending

  • There are more than 29,250 immigrant entrepreneurs in the state who boast $894.0 million in total business income

     

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 24, 2021

Top Ohio Business Leaders Urge Senators to Support Legislation to  Address Immigration Reforms

Columbus, Ohio – Today, less than a week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the  Dream & Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, New American Economy (NAE) hosted a virtual fly-in on Wednesday, March 24th, to urge key Senators to pass immigration  reform. Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions, a coalition of more than 30 Ohio businesses,  trade associations, chambers of commerce, and economic development groups, will meet with Senator Portman’s office as part of a national fly-in bringing leaders from Texas, Ohio, Colorado,  Maine, South Dakota, Utah, Florida, Nebraska, South Carolina, North Carolina, Iowa, Arkansas,  Kansas, Kentucky, Idaho, and Pennsylvania to talk about the need for immigration reform as both  a moral and economic imperative. See how immigration impacts the Ohio economy here.

 

NAE’s virtual fly-in brings together over 200 leaders across the country who understand that  immigration reform is necessary for our economic recovery and development. Furthermore, it is  requested by Ohio’s business community. Participants include Ohio Business Roundtable, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Restaurant Association, Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, and  more (see full list below).

NAE’s research shows that: 

  • There are approximately 7,874 DACA-eligible immigrants in Ohio. They hold $137.3M in  spending power and pay $42M in taxes each year 

  • More than 500,000 DACA-eligible individuals across the country are essential workers,  with 62,000 working in healthcare alone (nurses, home health aides, etc.). 12,800 DACA  recipients work in the farming and agriculture industry—with the vast majority as  agricultural laborers. 

  • There are approximately 2,317 TPS holders in Ohio.

  • Over 130,000 TPS holders are essential workers who have been vital in the pandemic, in  healthcare, construction, education, and across the food supply chain. 

  • An estimated 11,600 health care workers today are TPS holders. 

  • In Ohio, more than 1 in 6 (17.8%) animal production and aquaculture workers and more  than 1 in 6 (19.2%) agricultural workers are foreign-born. 

  • Farmworkers are especially at risk of falling ill from COVID-19 as they often work in  challenging conditions with no room to self-isolate at home. 

  • Despite being essential to the U.S. food supply chain, undocumented farmworkers do  not qualify for assistance in the COVID-19 aid packages and can’t seek UI.

 

You can learn more about immigrant contributions to fighting COVID-19 here.

 

About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to  educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that  see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has  created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and  represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways: 1) we use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy, 2) we organize  champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration, 3) we  partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants  add locally, and 4) we show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art,  sports, comedy, and more. 

OH Fly-In Participants: BioOhio, Hispanic Chamber of Cincinnati USA, Greater Cleveland  Partnership, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Ohio Business Roundtable, Ohio Chamber of  Commerce, Cincinnati Compass, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Dayton Area Chamber of  Commerce, Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce,  Lorain County Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Ohio Restaurant  Association, Ohio Grocers Association, Greater Cleveland Chinese Chamber of Commerce,  Global Cleveland, T.L.C. Landscaping, Inc., Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, Greater  Columbus Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Partnership, Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Council for Home Care & Hospice, Eastman & Smith LTD and  OhioX

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 18, 2021

Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions
Statement on the Introduction of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021

Earlier today, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was introduced in Congress. Ohio Business for  Immigration Solutions (OBIS) applauds the introduction of this bill and looks forward to  engaging with Congress as this proposal makes its way through the legislative process. This  proposed legislation is an exciting first step towards meaningful immigration reform that will  benefit Ohio’s business community.  

OBIS is a group of more than 30 businesses, industry and trade organizations, and chambers of  commerce that are focused on making the economic and business case for a modernized  immigration system that works for Ohio. As the voice of Ohio’s business community on the  topic of immigration reform, OBIS is uniquely situated to provide feedback on this proposal and  ensure it meets the workforce needs of Ohio’s businesses. OBIS believes that immigration  reforms can help fill some of those workforce needs in our communities and attract high quality  workers to Ohio.  

To that end, we are pleased to read that the bill increases the number of employment based  visas from 140,000 to 170,000 annually. Furthermore, the bill provides a meaningful pathway to  citizenship for farmworkers and other undocumented immigrants that have been directly  contributing to Ohio’s economy in a positive way. Common sense proposals such as these will  directly benefit the business community in Ohio and our membership is excited that these  important issues are being brought to the forefront of national conversation.  

Useful stats: 

Immigrant Residents: 552,923 

Immigrant Share of Population: 4.7% 

Immigrant Taxes Paid: $5.7B 

Immigrant Spending Power: $14.0B 

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: 26,866 

Employees at Immigrant-Owned Firms: 124,536 

More stats here: https://www.newamericaneconomy.org/locations/ohio/

January 21, 2021

Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions  

Statement on President Biden’s proposed immigration reforms 

COLUMBUS, OH Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions (OBIS) commends President Biden  for his prioritization of immigration reform and for bringing this critical issue to the forefront of  his presidency. We look forward to learning more about the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and  working with our members to engage in the process to ensure our immigration system supports  Ohio’s business community.

 

Improvements to the current immigration system will have a direct and noticeable impact on  Ohio’s economy. Immigrants account for more than one in four physicians in this country and  across the state, and many more are currently serving as frontline healthcare workers combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, immigrants have a high rate of  entrepreneurship and have contributed over $6 billion dollars to Ohio’s tax base.  

Ohio needs a robust workforce for our state economy to continue to grow and compete with  our neighboring states. OBIS believes that improving the immigration system will benefit Ohio  businesses and allow us to attract and retain the global talent we need. Immigrants have always  been, and remain, an important part of our communities. We must adopt a commonsense  approach to immigration that reflects our long- established values and recognizes the critical  role immigration has played in the history, economy, and culture of our state and the nation.  

Immigrant contributions to the State of Ohio: 

Immigrant Residents in Ohio: 549,537 

Immigrant Share of Ohio’s Population: 4.7% 

Immigrant Taxes Paid: $6.0B 

Immigrant Spending Power: $15.0B 

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: 29,257 

Business Income of Immigrant Entrepreneurs: $894M 

Employees at Immigrant-Owned Firms: 124,536 

More here: https://www.newamericaneconomy.org/locations/ohio/

December 8, 2020

Ohio Business and Industry Leaders Announce New Immigration Coalition

COLOMBUS, OH – Today, business groups in Ohio announced the formation of Ohio Business  for Immigration Solutions (OBIS). Comprised of business organizations from across the state,  the coalition is united in support of commonsense immigration reform and policies that will  allow Ohio’s economy to continue to grow and thrive. OBIS membership is representative of  Ohio’s diverse economy, including chambers of commerce from communities in all corners of  the state, various industry trade associations, and statewide business groups. 

This nonpartisan coalition is the first organized effort to provide a unified business voice in Ohio  on immigration issues at the federal, state and local levels. OBIS will work to inform and  educate policymakers on the impacts of various immigration policies and the economic  contributions of immigrants to Ohio’s economy. In 2018 alone, immigrants in Ohio paid $5.7  billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and held $14 billion in spending power.  

The coalition was announced today with an open letter to the Ohio congressional delegation  articulating that modernizing the country’s immigration system must be a priority for elected  officials. 

“We have joined Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions because we know that immigration  brings innovative, talented workers to Ohio,” said Alex Fischer, president and CEO, Columbus  Partnership. “We must pursue immigration policies that meet the needs of the Columbus  Region and its many growing employers." 

“Our primary focus at the Chamber is to drive economic growth and prosperity for Greater  Akron by supporting the success of the business community,” said Steve Millard, President &  CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber. “The history of Greater Akron is intertwined with the  economic benefit of immigration – from the European, southern and Appalachian immigrants  that made Akron one of America’s fastest growing cities in the early 20th century to a growing  Nepalese community today, the success of our economy relies on continuing to inject and  include new talent, energy and ideas from people that come to, and stay in, Greater Akron.” 

A major issue facing businesses in Ohio is attracting and retaining the labor force needed for  business growth. Moreover, businesses often cannot find workers to fill the jobs currently  available, and the immigration system and visa programs are not flexible and responsive to the  real needs of Ohio employers. As policymakers continue the important work of helping the  economy recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they cannot lose sight of the  workforce issues that will continue to challenge Ohio’s growth. Sensible immigration reforms  should be considered to ensure that the recovery works for all Ohioans, including those with  immigrant status

“The members of the Ohio Grocers Association perform critical work ensuring that Ohioans  have access to a safe and secure food supply. Immigrants play a vital role in this work,” said  Kristin Mullins, President and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association. “We joined Ohio Business  for Immigration Solutions to advocate for policies that strengthen Ohio’s food supply chain  workforce.” 

“Our membership is uniquely positioned to realize the impact of immigration on Ohio’s  economy,” said Scott R. Williams, CEO, Ohio REALTORS. “Immigration has helped grow  communities around our state, and REALTORS have been there to assist them in finding homes  for their families. We joined Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions because we need  immigration policies that allow more new Americans to put down roots in Ohio.” 

Over the summer and fall, OBIS members worked to develop the Ohio Compact on  Immigration, a document which will guide the work of the coalition. The Ohio Compact on  Immigration is a set of principles agreed upon by OBIS members seeking to elevate the Ohio  business community’s desire to find sensible immigration policy solutions that strengthen  Ohio’s economy.  

As the 134th General Assembly and 117th Congress prepare to convene in January, now is the  time for policymakers to put aside partisan differences and work towards policy solutions that  allow our businesses and communities to grow. Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions looks  forward to working with local, state and federal officials to develop immigration policies that  meet the needs of employers in our state. To learn more, visit OHCompact.org

Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions 

  • BioOhio 

  • Cincinnati Compass 

  • Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber  

  • Chamber of Greater Springfield, Ohio 

  • Columbus Chamber of Commerce 

  • Columbus Partnership 

  • Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Eastman & Smith LTD 

  • Greater Akron Chamber  

  • Greater Cleveland Partnership 

  • Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce 

  • Hispanic Chamber of Cincinnati USA 

  • Lorain County Chamber of Commerce 

  • Ohio Bankers League 

  • Ohio Business Roundtable

  • Ohio Council for Homecare & Hospice Ohio Grocers Association 

  • Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association 

  • Ohio Pharmacists Association 

  • Ohio REALTORS 

  • Ohio Restaurant Association 

  • OhioX 

  • Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce 

  • Tri-Village Chamber Partnership