Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Immigration reform continues to be an important topic for the hospitality industry.

As one of the largest trade associations in Oregon, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) has a vested interest in all things generating business for the industry. Bill Perry, vice president of Government Affairs, and ORLA member Gus Castaneda, general manager of The Mark Spencer Hotel, recently attended a roundtable discussion on “Business Imperatives for Immigration Reform” in Portland. The Hon. Francisco J. S├ínchez, undersecretary of commerce for International Trade - U.S. Department of Commerce was the featured speaker for the program.

Although it was a small group of only 35 business people, discussions were productive and focused on immigration issues around growing the economy. Specifically, topics covered: how to make it easier for tourists in far eastern countries like China and India to get travel visas, professional or skilled visas, and the importance of overall immigration reform. The forum was sponsored by the White House, Portland Business Alliance and the Hispanic Chamber.

If you weren’t already aware, ORLA serves as co-chair of the Coalition for a Working Oregon (CWO), an organization created with the goal of advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. With 22 member organizations, CWO represents the first consolidated effort by Oregon employers to create support for a measured and sensible approach to comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. Visit the Coalition’s website for more information or to get involved.