Letter: Immigration reform critical to economy

To the Editor:

As I experienced as chairman of the DuPage County Board, being a leader often means making hard short-term, unpopular decisions for the long-term public good. This is especially true in politics, where elected officials are dependent on voters to keep their jobs, and thus sometimes shrink from making the tough choices they know are best for their constituencies.

That is why I was particularly pleased to hear about The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ bipartisan discussion featuring Republicans Adam Kinzinger and Mark Kirk and Democrats Luis Gutierrez and Rahm Emanuel. These officials showed their leadership by publicly voicing their bipartisan support for immigration reform.

Illinois deserves leaders who are making the tough choices to improve our fiscal condition, foster innovation, expand our economy, and create jobs. There is broad agreement among business groups and voters on both sides of the aisle that common sense immigration reform will help us meet those goals.

As Congressman Kinzinger said, “A growing economy – an economy with new people – is how we’re going to be strong into the future.”

Of course, as each of the panelists affirmed, we have to make getting U.S. citizens back to work a priority, but the reality is that there are certain jobs that most natural-born citizens will not do. We need smart immigration policies that allow us to fill these jobs.

I therefore applaud Rep. Kinzinger for his courage to work across the aisle on immigration reform, and I encourage leaders throughout the state to do the same.

Robert Schillerstrom

Naperville