Immigration debate needs a strategic non-partisan game plan - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Immigration debate needs a strategic non-partisan game plan

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Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2010 6:30 pm

I heard someone make the following comment a few days ago regarding a particularly difficult issue. To describe the complicated parts of the issue it was said that "we don't know what we

don't know and we don't really know that we don't know it." That statement could well describe the complicated issues applying to the current debate concerning immigration. For example, at this point, we do not know the final outcome of the legal challenges coming from the federal trial of SB 1070 - nor do we know what the boycotts will accomplish or cause and their effect on the state's fragile economy.

On the other hand, with a quick, unsophisticated check with economic development folks in the East Valley, we find reports that deals are still being reviewed and considered and many are closing. There may be a slowdown but the economic development practitioners are pressing forward with admirable determination and with an eye towards ultimate success.

Reiterating the position of the business groups we joined, what we do know is that the issues of immigration are real, and reform is needed. The border needs securing; workers need to be verified as eligible and pay taxes; and (particularly in this state) there needs to be an established, thriving economy that capitalizes on highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs.

During this election cycle, we call upon every candidate for governor, those running for the Legislature, others running for state offices, federal delegation candidates and business and support groups to set aside partisan opinions and for the common good of the state's economy, come together now to do the hard part of identifying and correcting what we don't know. In particular, we need to focus on a real, federal solution to our immigration issues while at the same time unleashing our true economic potential.

I have confidence there is enough talent and brain power in this state to figure out the facts, figures, data and real effect of immigration on our economy top to bottom, and then establish a

strategic - non partisan game plan to return our state to its rightful place in the sun - a great place to live, work, play and raise our families.

--

Roc Arnett is president and CEO of East Valley Partnership.

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