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Arizona launches statewide coalition to address immigration reform

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — A new statewide coalition that advocates for the importance of immigrants, immigration and immigration reform for Arizona launched on Thursday.

Andrew Moriarty with Fwd.us, a national organization created by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, said the coalition represents a “broad and diverse group of voices.”

“Whether it’s agriculture, traditional business, high-tech business, students and teachers…everyone understands that the immigration system is broken,” he said.

The national coalition is on the ground in 11 states and is made up of local groups like the Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Technology Council and Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

Moriarty said groups like these are highlighting the importance of immigrants, immigration, and immigration reform because those issues affect them directly.

“Immigration has long been our nation’s greatest competitive advantage,” he said. “That’s true if we’re talking about high-skilled that has allowed us to build some of the most incredible companies that the world has ever seen.”

Half of the billion-dollar value companies in Silicon Valley were founded by immigrants.  But it’s also true, Moriarty continued, if we’re talking about the 80 percent of agricultural workers here in Arizona who are immigrants.

“And that’s true of the 750,000 Dreamers — young undocumented people who came here at a young age,” he said. “Who have no way, as of right now, to come forward, get right with the law and pursue their dreams in this country.”

Voters, and business, community and political leaders all agree it’ll take three things to fix this, he said.

“Making sure that we have secure boarders, making sure that our immigration system makes sense for the 21st Century and making that those who are living here without documentation, have a pathway to legalization,” he said.

The coalition plans to call on Arizona legislators to make immigration reform a priority for Congress.

“This is a really important time to being doing this work,” he said. “We are seeing record high support from American voters on both sides of the isle for common sense immigration reform.”

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