On Tuesday, more than 60 Arizona CEOs responded to the news of more immigration legislation going through the Legislature with a letter to Senate President Russell Pearce.
In a press release on the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce website, "the letter’s purpose was to voice concerns over the unintended consequences to Arizona’s brand and economy created by the immigration legislation which continues to be discussed at the Legislature.
“Arizona’s business community understands the Legislature’s frustration with the lack of leadership at the federal level on immigration reform and we agree our borders must be protected first,” stated Todd Sanders, president and CEO for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “However, we strongly believe it is unwise, and quite frankly devastating, for Arizona to continue to push additional immigration legislation at the state level. President Obama and Congress must implement meaningful changes to our antiquated immigration system.”
Here's the letter:
March 15th, 2011
Senator Russell Pearce, Senate President
Arizona State Senate
1700 W Washington, Room S-205
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear President Pearce,
Thank you for your willingness to serve Arizona as a Member of the Arizona State Senate. We, like you, are concerned about the challenges facing our State, particularly the need to address our structural deficit and insure an economic environment that attracts and retains high quality jobs.
While we recognize the desire for states like Arizona to fill the leadership vacuum left by federal inaction on immigration, we strongly believe it is unwise for the Legislature to pass any additional immigration legislation, including any measures leaving the determination of citizenship to the state.
We agree with you that our borders must be protected first, and now. We also believe that market-driven immigration policies can and should be developed by the federal government that will sustain America’s status as a magnet for the world’s most talented and hard-working people and preserve our ability to compete in the global economy.
If the Legislature believes it is worthwhile to debate the question of citizenship, we believe that debate is best held in the U.S. Congress. Already, Senators David Vitter of Louisiana and Rand Paul of Kentucky have introduced legislation aimed at amending the 14th Amendment to deny “birthright citizenship” to those born to individuals living in the U.S. illegally. Iowa Rep. Steve King has introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House.
Arizona’s lawmakers and citizens are right to be concerned about illegal immigration. But we must acknowledge that when Arizona goes it alone on this issue, unintended consequences inevitably occur. Last year, boycotts were called against our state’s business community, adversely impacting our already-struggling economy and costing us jobs. Arizona-based businesses saw contracts cancelled or were turned away from bidding. Sales outside of the state declined. Even a business which merely had “Arizona” in its name felt the effects of the boycotts, compelling them to launch an educational campaign about their company’s roots in Brooklyn. It is an undeniable fact that each of our companies and our employees were impacted by the boycotts and the coincident negative image.
Tourism, one of our state’s largest industries and employment centers, also suffered from negative perceptions after the passage of SB 1070. The fact Governor Brewer directed $250,000 to repairing Arizona’s reputation strongly suggests these efforts — whether fair or unfair - are harmful to our image.
Let us be clear: our dissension with legislative action on the state level does not translate to our being “pro-illegal immigration.” To the contrary, we believe Congress must address border security, identity theft, sound and implementable employment verification systems and policies and the creation of a meaningful guest worker program. Therefore, we urge the Legislature to redirect its energy by joining us in pressing the federal government for meaningful immigration reform. Together, we can get results.
Drew Brown, Managing Director, DMB Associates, Inc.
Philip Francis, Executive Chairman, PetSmart; Chairman, GPL
Ronald Butler, Arizona Managing Partner, Ernst & Young
W. Douglas Parker, Chairman, President/CEO, U.S. Airways Group
Ronald Brown, President, Atrium Holding Company
Richard Dozer, Chairman, GenSpring Family Offices
Stephen Rizley, Sr. Vice President/General Mgr., Cox Communications, Inc.
Daniel Connor, President/CEO, Blood Systems
John Graham, President, Sunbelt Holdings
Peter Fine, President/CEO, Banner Health
Craig Phelps, Provost, A.T. Still University
Jeff Whiteman, President/CEO, Empire Southwest LLC
Thomas Sadvary, President/CEO, Scottsdale Healthcare
William Coats, Chief Executive Officer, The Leona Group
Herman Chanen, Chairman/CEO, The Chanen Corporation
Lee Hanley, Chairman/CEO, Vestar Development Company
William Schubert, Chairman, Kitchell Corporation
Jon Pettibone, Managing Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP
Paul Dykstra, Chairman, President/CEO, Viad Corporation
David Bruno, Vice Chairman, Managing Director, DHR International, Inc.
Marty Laurel, Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of AZ
James Gentile, President/CEO, Research Corp for Science Adv.
Roger Vogel, Chairman, President/CEO, Vante Medical Technologies
Michael Duran, Vice President, Chief Dev. Off., TMC Healthcare/TMC Found.
F. Michael Geddes, Chairman, President, Geddes and Company
Bruce Beach, CEO, BeachFleischman PC, Chairman, SALC
J. Doug Pruitt, Chairman/CEO, Sundt Construction, Inc.
Brian Johnson, Managing Director, Loews Ventana Canyon
Peter Likins, President Emeritus, University of Arizona
Robert Delgado, President/CEO, Hensley Beverage Company
Michael Kennedy, President, Gallagher & Kennedy P.A.
Bruce Dusenberry, President, Horizon Moving Systems, Inc.
Robert Underwood, Chief Executive Officer, Underwood Brothers, Inc.
Shelly Esque, Vice President, Legal/Corp Affairs, Intel Corporation
Denise Resnik, President, Denise Resnik & Associates
Vince Roig, Chairman/CEO, Helios Foundation
Constance Perez, Chief Executive Officer, Adreima
Susan Williams, President/Founder, HR Choice
Kevin Sandler, President/CEO, ExhibitOne Corporation
Debbie Johnson, President/CEO, Arizona Hotel & Lodging Assoc
Jim Click, Jr., President, Jim Click Automotive
David Cohen, Executive Vice President, Team BeachFleishman PC
Donald Pitt, President, Campus Research Corporation
Alan Klein, Board Chair, So. Arizona Lodging & Resort Ass.
Michael Kasser, President, Holualoa Companies
Linda Hunt, Area President, CHW Arizona, President/CEO, St. Joseph’s Hosp
John Zidich, CEO/Publisher, Arizona Republic
Howard Fleischmann, Owner, Community Tire & Auto Repair
Nancy Stone, President, ILX Resorts, Inc.
Janice Cox, Retired CEO, Carondelet Foundation
Don Budinger, Chairman/Founding Director, The Rodel Foundations
David Anderson, President, Off Madison Avenue
Steven Wheeler, Chairman, Greater Phoenix Chamber
Bill Calloway, Plant Manager, Nestle-Purina, Flagstaff
J.R. Murray, Chairman, Flagstaff Forty
The following inclusion of names is authorized, but signatures were not available at the time of printing.
Reginald Ballantyne III, Senior Corporate Officer, Vanguard Health Systems, Inc.
Gerrit van Huisstede, Regional President, Wells Fargo Bank
Earl Petznick, Jr., President/CEO, Northside Hay Company