South Carolina business leaders and businessmen on Monday denounced the scarcity of labor in the state and expressed hope that the open debate in the Republican Party will urgently push immigration reform.
Representatives of the hotel and tourism industry, construction and agriculture emphasized at a press conference in Columbia, the state capital, that although each sector has its opinion and interests in the matter, it is necessary for Congress to act as soon as possible.
"It's a priority issue that we go back and we have comprehensive immigration reform which includes protecting our borders and making sure we bring in legalized immigrants who can do the skilled labor and having them paying taxes, learning the language and being part of the community," Mark Nix, executive director of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, said.
The Republican Party announced last week its principles for dealing with the situation of the 11 million undocumented foreigners who live in the United States.
"It's good at last to see the business community reacting and acknowledging the economic contributions of immigrants," Ivan Segura, president of the Council of Mexicans in the Carolinas, told Efe on Monday.
South Carolina is one of the pioneer states in the implementation of the E-Verify program whereby the immigration status of workers can be verified, and it has one of the strictest state immigration laws in the country along with a special unit to arrest immigrants without the proper papers.
It is estimated that more than 240,884 Hispanics live in South Carolina, most of them of Mexican origin and working on farms, in construction and services such as restaurants and hotels. EFE