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Who We Are

About the Task Force

The Task Force on Immigration and U.S. Economic Competitiveness is a bipartisan group comprised of nine cochairs and forty-four other thought leaders drawn from the business, civic, religious, advocacy, and educational sectors from around the Midwest. 

Midwestern leadership is important to bringing about immigration policy change for at least three reasons. First, the Midwest’s population has increased over the last two decades, though barely and only because of immigration. Our weakened economy has averted deeper decline thanks to immigrant workers. Second, many of the issues roiling the national immigration debate (such as unemployment and economic uncertainty) are painfully abundant in the nation’s heartland. Third, paralysis in Washington and a series of blocked efforts at the state level render a uniquely regional approach both timely and necessary. 

The time is ripe for Midwestern leaders to engage in serious discussions about immigration and the region’s future. Pressures to address immigration policy at the national level are beginning to reach a critical stage, and innovative local and regional initiatives are needed. Taking initiative now—before the lines of the national debate are fully drawn—could help move the region and country toward a more immigrant-supporting, economically successful future.

The Chicago Council of Global Affairs has convened the Task Force to inform Midwestern leadership and enhance public understanding of immigration and its importance to the region’s economic future. The goal is to forge consensus around and build support for sensible immigration policy at the state and national levels. This initiative involves dialogue, outreach, and communication between Midwestern leadership and the broader public. Members have been regularly convening in Chicago since December of 2011; their discussions culminated in a report released at the National Press Club in Washington DC on February 28, 2013. They continue to move forward, sharing their findings and involving others in the conversation