WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama met a group of top business executives, including two Indian- Americans, to discuss the landmark comprehensive immigration reform bill that aims to provide citizenship to some 11 million illegal immigrants, including over 240,000 Indians.
Addressing the small group of nine top American CEOs in the Roosevelt room of the White House yesterday, Obama said that immigration reform would be a boost to the American economic recovery.
The two Indian-American CEOs who attending the meeting 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 recognise 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.
The bill, if signed into law would provide citizenship to some 11 million illegal immigrants, including over 240,000 Indians.
"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," Obama said.
Source: Times oF India