Investors Representing More Than $890 Billion In Assets Join Call For Commonsense Immigration Reform

Apr 19, 2013, 10:47 ET from Boston Common Asset Management

Policy Reform with Path to Citizenship Essential to Long-Term Growth and Just Society

BOSTON, April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Earlier today, a broad and diverse group of more than 70 institutional investors – representing $890.5 billion in assets on behalf of major pension funds, non-profit organizations and socially-conscious investors – joined together to call on Congress to take immediate action and pass commonsense immigration reform.

"We believe comprehensive reform must be developed and implemented consistent with the human rights of all concerned, must value the integrity of families and must prevent immigrant workers—be they temporary or permanent—from being subjected to second-class employment standards," the group stated in a public letter.

The group's announcement comes in the wake of the Senate's bi-partisan 'Gang of 8' introducing legislation that includes the vital pathway to earned citizenship.

"As investors, we have a responsibility to advocate for those without a voice. Comprehensive immigration reform is a necessary step to improve conditions for those immigrants living and working in our country," says Susan Smith Makos, vice president of social responsibility for Mercy Investment Services. "Our hope is that leaders in U.S. Congress will realize the significant, positive impact that immigration reform can have not only on businesses but also on our country."

A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that immigration reform could add as much as 1.3 percent to GDP by 2016. 

"Immigrants will be vital to replenishing our labor force and consumer base. It's time for our business and Congressional leaders to wake up and call for meaningful immigration reform that legitimizes immigrants' crucial contribution to our continued economic growth," says Geeta Aiyer, President and Founder of Boston Common Asset Management.

The broad coalition has noted that reform is imperative to ensuring a competitive U.S. labor force and a more prosperous economy for all Americans.

"We call on Congress to seize this opportunity to be a champion of comprehensive immigration reform," says Heidi Soumerai, managing director for Walden Asset Management. "Rooted in an essential source of America's strength, reform is good for the economy, good for business, and good for investors. It is also the right thing to do."

The group of institutional investors and fiduciaries joins a growing list of business leaders who called on Congress to take immediate action.

Adds NYC Comptroller John C. Liu, "Comprehensive, humane immigration reform is vital to the companies that power our local and national economies. As investors, and as a people, we cannot afford to shut the door on the millions who strive to achieve the American Dream."

Bringing 11 million people out of the shadows and putting them onto a pathway to earned citizenship would ensure that all workers were treated with respect and paid fairly.

"Regardless of our faith, we all share a moral responsibility to stop the suffering caused by the current immigration policy, especially to families," says UUA Vice President of Finance Tim Brennan, "and as members of the investment community, we know the path to economic prosperity lies ultimately with the humane treatment of our workers."

For too long, the country has suffered under a defective and outdated immigration system that makes political scapegoats out of immigrants, forces families to live apart, and undermines our economic viability.

"Now is the time to pass comprehensive reform because we will not allow 11 million people – a population the size of the state of Ohio – to be relegated to second-class citizenship," said Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Trustee of the SEIU Master Trust. "Now is the time because Americans are looking to their elected officials to set aside partisan politics and restore the promise that those who work hard can achieve the American Dream."

The full press release and investor statement can be found at:

CONTACT: Lauren Compere, 617.335.9764

SOURCE Boston Common Asset Management