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11 Top CEOs Write Congress: Pass Immigration Reform

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The CEOs of nearly a dozen major U.S. companies have written Congress, demanding a “practical solution” for millions of immigrants in the country illegally.  

In their letter, dated Tuesday, the chief executives of McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Choice Hotels, Tyson Foods, Exelon and six other corporations say the ability to hire foreign, “less-skilled” workers when Americans won’t fill physically demanding jobs is “indispensable” to their businesses.

“Employers should have to try to hire Americans first,” the CEOs write. “But if they can’t find enough U.S. workers, they should be able to hire foreign workers quickly, easily and legally.”

The companies argue that low-skilled foreign workers are eligible only for seasonal visas, not ones that would allow them to stay year-round.  Such temporary visas, along with better border security and workplace verification systems, would constitute reforms that would prevent future illegal immigration, the CEOs say.

The White House has been hoping pressure might build on House Republicans to act this summer, with many key primaries behind them.  

Publicly, House Speaker John Boehner has remained steadfast in his opposition to the comprehensive reform legislation that passed the Senate last year.   Boehner has said he’d be open to a piecemeal approach, but the onus is on the president to convince Congress he will enforce the law as written.

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