FWD.us Launches 2022 Texas Bipartisan Immigration Reform Partnerships with Leading State Business Organizations

AUSTIN, TX — FWD.us today announced the continuation and expansion of its bipartisan partnerships with Texas business organizations and trade associations to support immigration reform that will foster economic growth and workforce development. This announcement follows FWD.us’ new analysis published last week showcasing the critical importance of immigrants to the strength and viability of the Texas economy as the state works to address the worker shortage brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new analysis found that immigrants now make up nearly a quarter of Texas’ labor force, nearly double the share from three decades ago. More than 1.1 million workers in Texas are undocumented, representing nearly 8 percent of the total workforce, the highest level of any U.S. state. In total, about 9 million Texans, or roughly a third of Texas’ population, live in a household with at least one immigrant, according to the estimates.

In an effort to support the state’s immigrant workforce and expand sensible pro-immigration, pro-growth policies, this year’s bipartisan Texas partnerships will connect leaders from communities across the state to advocate for commonsense immigration reform that will support both the economy and families in Texas. In a testament to the widespread bipartisan support for immigration reform, FWD.us is proud to bring together leaders from some of the state’s largest business groups and industry associations. The partnership will work to amplify the stories of Texas’ immigrant workers and entrepreneurs, advocate for pro-economic immigration reform at the state and federal level, and collaborate to find solutions to support immigrant workers, business owners, and all that rely on them in every sector and in every corner of Texas.

FWD.us Texas Immigration State Director Zaira Garcia said, “The well-deserved focus on essential workers during the pandemic coupled with this new data analysis from FWD.us shows what we have known all along — immigrants are an invaluable part of what makes our state successful and viable for continued prosperity. However, reforms are needed so we can tap into the full potential of our immigrant community. I am thrilled to work with these business and organizational leaders to amplify the stories and skills of immigrants living in uncertain situations that negatively impact Texas families and communities. Ultimately, there is a great need for bipartisan immigration reform and I’m thankful there is widespread support for change from industries and organizations that are driving the state’s success and potential.”

Amy Graham, President and CEO, Texas Nursery and Landscape Association said, “As an industry declared essential during the pandemic, society increasingly demanded more from our diverse workforce. In terms of diversity, more than half of the landscaping industry in Texas today is comprised of foreign-born individuals. The Texas Nursery and Landscape Association (TNLA) works to address the biggest challenge facing industries like ours, workforce shortages, and we see commonsense immigration reform as a solution that will benefit all Texans. We must work together to encourage our leaders to implement bipartisan, widely-supported immigration reform that would support our TNLA members and the prosperity of communities across Texas.”

Taylor Landin, Policy Director of the Greater Houston Partnership said, “Immigrants are part of Houston’s fabric. Nearly one in four Houstonians is born outside of the U.S., and our business community understands and appreciates the value of our region’s diversity to ensure we are building strong communities throughout our community. Today, workers in Houston in every industry and at all skill levels continue to lead our post-pandemic economic recovery. Through our renewed partnership with FWD.us, we will continue to amplify and support opportunities to build a brighter economic future for all residents in the Houston region.”

Chris Wallace, President and CEO, North Texas Commission said, “The North Texas Commission is excited to be partnering again with FWD.us in our shared mission of making North Texas a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Our region represents some of the best of America, with educational and workforce opportunities for all. With more than 1.7 million undocumented immigrants in Texas, including 300,000 undocumented essential workers in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, immigrants are vital to Texas’ economy and are integral to the fabric of our communities. Advocating alongside FWD.us, members of the communities we serve, and leaders at the local, state, and federal level to advance immigration reform is critical to building a country that works for everyone.”

Glenn Hamer, President and CEO, Texas Association of Business said, “Texas’ economy is the ninth largest in the world because we have the fastest growing population, a skilled workforce, and every sector on the planet. We could not be the global powerhouse that we are without the economic contributions of immigrants from around the world who now call Texas home. More than 389,000 immigrants have started businesses in our state, adding more than $100 billion to our economy and creating opportunities throughout our communities. There is immense work to be done to advocate for solutions that make our immigration system more reliable for workers and employers.”

Justin Yancy, President, Texas Business Leadership Council said, “Employers, from large businesses to small entrepreneurs, are the backbone of our national economy and a linchpin for communities across the US. In a border state like ours, we are especially proud of those who have sought out Texas for a better life, who play vital roles in every corner of the Lone Star State and are working toward their ‘American Dream.’ According to the latest census, immigrants now account for almost a quarter of our overall workforce, including health care workers, sanitation workers, first responders, agriculture workers, and more. Our work with FWD.us has and will allow us to continue highlighting the success of immigrants in our communities and encourage our elected leaders to make long-overdue repairs to our broken immigration system.”

Melissa Stewart, Senior Executive Director, State Regions, Texas Restaurant Association said, “Texas’ restaurant industry is a microcosm, highlighting the diversity and cultural heritage that make our state so special. Not only do foreign-born workers make up 22% of the restaurant workforce, but immigrants also play critical roles in our industry as entrepreneurs, customers, and suppliers. Particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated worker shortages and supply chain disruptions, we urgently need solutions that will expand our workforce, improve public safety, and strengthen our communities. The Texas Restaurant Association looks forward to continuing to work with our partners at FWD.us to bring about these reforms for our growing state.”

Richard Perez, President and CEO, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce said, “The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has a long history of advocacy in reforming our immigration system to attract the best talent available to aid us in growing our economy and spreading prosperity. We are, therefore, excited to announce a partnership with FWD.us to join forces to amplify our mutual work on this important initiative. In San Antonio, immigrants make up a significant portion of our City’s workforce, and attracting talent from across the globe is vital to our economic strength and future prosperity. Businesses across San Antonio are in a battle for talent, and immigration reform will help us fill important jobs across all industries in our community.”

Sergio Contreras, President and CEO, Rio Grande Valley Partnership said, “The Rio Grande Valley Partnership works day in and day out to bring opportunity and prosperity to the people of our region. One in five workers in Texas is an immigrant, and Rio Grande Valley as a whole is an example of how impactful and important immigrants are to continued growth in the business community and beyond. Working together with this bipartisan group of leaders from across the state, we can be an important part of the movement to improve the immigration system and make our region, state, and nation a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

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