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National Restaurant Association

NRA applauds senators Hagel and Daschle on introducing immigration reform bill

The National Restaurant Association commended Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Tom Daschle (D-SD) for…

The National Restaurant Association commended Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Tom Daschle (D-SD) for introducing the Hagel-Daschle Immigration Reform Act of 2004 to recognize the need for meaningful solutions to the nation`s current immigration system.

This is a very significant and positive step forward to have Sens. Hagel and Daschle working together to craft bipartisan legislation to address the important issue of immigration reform, said Lee Culpepper, the Association`s senior vice president of Government Affairs and Public Policy. It is clear that Congress is responding to the Administration`s call to bring this issue to the forefront, and we are pleased by the framework and direction that this legislation lays out in addressing the inherent problem that currently exists with the country`s immigration system.

The restaurant industry is the nation`s largest employer of immigrants with a long and proud history of providing rewarding career opportunities to people from all cultures and backgrounds. We believe that immigrants who work hard, pay taxes and contribute to our nation`s economy deserve an opportunity to earn legal status and live the American dream. Our nation`s immigration policy should both secure our borders, as well as match willing employers with willing employees,
added Culpepper, who joined the Association`s President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Anderson in sending a joint letter to Congress to express support for President Bush`s immigration reform plan and urge members to address this important issue.

The Hagel-Daschle bill seeks to overhaul the immigration system and includes such provisions as allowing undocumented individuals currently in this country who are working and contributing positively to the country to earn legal status over a period of time. It also provides more visas to employers to bring foreign workers into this country to fill jobs that cannot be filled domestically.

The National Restaurant Association believes that immigration reform is necessary in stabilizing the nation`s work force. Like hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came before them, today`s immigrants are having a substantial impact on the restaurant industry`s ethnic cuisines, as well as its work force. Immigrants contribute significantly to our nation, our history and to our industry. According to Association research, 20 percent of the restaurant industry`s owners are Hispanic or Asian, and 25 percent of chefs are Hispanic.

The National Restaurant Association has long pointed out the need for changes in immigration laws to address the country`s workforce needs. The restaurant industry, the nation`s largest private-sector employer with 12 million employees in 878,000 restaurant-and-foodservice outlets nationwide, continues to be a leader in job creation and is expected to create 1.5 million new jobs within the next 10 years.

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