Chambers of commerce often have an innate understanding of the relationship between economic growth and immigration, and have a crucial role to play in articulating the business case for attracting, welcoming, and integrating immigrants in their region. Local and state chambers across the country are increasingly seeing immigration as a key part of their regional economic development strategy and taking leadership on this issue both in their local communities and in the national immigration reform conversation.
There are a number of ways that chambers can engage on immigration and promote economic growth:
Join the NAE Global Talent Chamber Network
Over 40 chambers have joined the Global Talent Chamber Network since it launched in the fall of 2017. As members, chambers have access to tailored economic research highlighting the contributions of immigrants in their region; communications and messaging guidance; policy analysis of federal, state and local legislation; plug-and-play advocacy opportunities; and more.
Publish Research on Immigrants’ Contributions
Research that quantifies the economic and demographic contributions of immigrants to a metro area, congressional district, or state helps change the narrative around immigration and spur communitywide conversations about its importance. Chambers can use data to inform its membership and board, as well as partner with other stakeholders to advocate for economic imperative for inclusive policies. See examples from San Diego, Lancaster, Kansas City, and Tulsa. NAE’s Map the Impact has data on immigrant contributions for all 50 states, 435 congressional districts and the top 100 metro areas.
Develop a Multi-Sector Strategic Plan for Economic Development
Chambers can work with partners in local government and civil society to set a vision and economic development agenda for their community by becoming more welcoming and accessible to all residents. Chambers can also invite other members of the business community to participate in the planning and help inform recommendations around workforce development, talent attraction and retention, and entrepreneurship. Chambers in Des Moines, Lancaster, Salt Lake, San Diego, and Tulsa have led such planning processes.
Advocate for Immigration Reform
Chambers are well-positioned to advocate for policy issues that are important to their members and immigration and workforce are no exception. Chambers can use data on the contributions of immigrants in their region or state as part of their Washington DC fly-ins and participate in days of action around local, state or federal reforms.