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Arizona businessman: Syria issue could derail immigration reform

PHOENIX — Syria will take center stage this week when Congress returns to the nation’s capital after the summer break.

A reform bill passed the Senate and was expected to face an uphill battle in the House without the Syrian situation. Some believe that a few lawmakers will use Syria as an excuse to table immigration reform.

Garrick Taylor with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that’s no excuse.

“This is an example of Congress needing to walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Taylor, who is senior vice president of government relations and communications for the group.

“There are many important things happening around the world and here at home.”

Taylor said Arizona, perhaps more than any other state, has the most to gain or lose with the outcome of reform.

“Including better border security, and hopefully, visa reform, that will help Arizona employers at both the high-skilled and low-skilled levels.”

If reform doesn’t happen this fall, it may not happen at all for a while, Taylor said.

“We’re going to be in an election year in 2014. You’re going to have more candidate town halls and it’s going to be a tougher lift next year,”

Taylor said businesses need certainty now more than anything.

“What are the rules of the road on hiring? Verification of potential hires, and how they can bring workers into the economy when Congress is on the fence.”