Washington: US President Barack Obama met a group of top business executives, including two Indian-Americans, to discuss with them the comprehensive immigration reform. Addressing this small group of nine top American CEOs in the Roosevelt room of the White House on Monday, Obama said that immigration reform would be a boost to the American economic recovery.
The two Indian-American CEOs were Farooq Kathwari, chairman, president and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc and Sunil Puri, founder, First Rockford Group. Welcoming these "extraordinary business leaders" Obama said, all of these business leaders recognize the degree to which immigration is a contributor to growth, a contributor to expansion, a creator of jobs, but they also recognise that the immigration system that we currently have is broken.
"We have a system in which we bring outstanding young people from all across the world to educate them here, and unfortunately, too often, we send them right back so that they can start companies or help to grow companies somewhere else instead of here," Obama said.
"We have a situation in which millions of individuals are in the shadow economy, oftentimes exploited at lower wages, and that hurts those companies that are following the rules, because they end up being at a disadvantage to some of these less scrupulous companies," he added.
"All of us recognise that now is the time to get comprehensive immigration reform done - one that involves having very strong border security; that makes sure that we're holding employers accountable to follow the rules; one that provides earned citizenship for those 11 million, so that they have to pay back taxes, pay a fine, learn English, follow the rules, get to the back of the line, but ultimately can be part of the above-board economy, as opposed to the low-board economy; and a system that fixes and cleans up our legal immigration system so that we can continue to be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, Obama said.
He also noted that some of the business owners at the table were immigrants, and like the generations of immigrants that came before them, these business leaders came to this country to build a better life and are now helping build a stronger economy by creating American jobs.