State House News, 2/22/17

Business and tech industry leaders and civil liberties advocates are calling on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to lead efforts to make sure Massachusetts remains a safe place for immigrants and refugees. In a letter to Baker released on Wednesday, 22 business leaders joined the ACLU of Massachusetts and The Alliance for Business Leadership in thanking Baker for opposing President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees and urged him to continue speaking out against Trump’s plans and to support state legislation “to protect Massachusetts residents from discriminatory federal policy.” Acting on promises he made prior to his election, Trump has cited safety and national security interests in pushing a new approach to illegal immigration and immigration from countries that his administration views as compromised by terrorism. “Business leaders like to focus on the bottom line, and the bottom line here is that immigrants are vital to Massachusetts’ economic success,” alliance president Jesse Mermell, a former top aide to Gov. Deval Patrick, said in a statement. “Twenty-one percent of entrepreneurs in Massachusetts are immigrants, 58 percent of Fortune 500 companies based here were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants, and immigrants make up 18 percent of all people employed in our state. Standing up for the Commonwealth’s immigrant community is not only standing up for diversity and inclusion, it is standing up for the future of our economy.” The letter is signed by professors from leading universities and officials from the New England Venture Capital Association, Akamai Technologies, Flybridge Capital Partners, Bocoup and RDF Software GroupĀ – Michael P. Norton/SHNS