Los Angeles — Ahead of Fourth of July citizenship celebrations and in the wake of the Senate’s passage of broad, bipartisan immigration reform last week, executives and employees with American Apparel, AltaMed and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce joined with the National Immigration Forum this morning to highlight the importance of immigrant integration and reaffirm their commitment to helping their immigrant employees become citizens.
As part of the Bethlehem Project—which is funded in large part by the New Americans Campaign—businesses in Los Angeles and other cities across the country have been increasingly leading the charge to integrate our nation’s newest citizens. Partnering with service providers such as the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Asian Americans for Advancing Justice, the Central American Resource Center, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and Catholic Charities, these businesses are offering their immigrant employees onsite services such as English classes, civics instruction and legal assistance for citizenship applications, as well as reaping the benefits of a more engaged workforce.
“AltaMed is a proud partner of the Bethlehem Project,” said Robert Turner, AltaMed’s Vice President of Human Resources. “For more than 40 years, AltaMed has worked in underserved communities of Los Angeles, the very same communities that have high immigrant populations. Helping legal permanent residents find stable work and become engaged citizens of our neighborhoods is an optimal outcome for us all.”
“We are very fortunate and blessed to have been introduced to the good people at the Bethlehem Project, and we are honored and proud to be considered the flagship company for the Los Angeles area,” added Marty Bailey, Chief Manufacturing Officer at American Apparel. “Most importantly, with the Project’s guidance, many of our employees have quickly benefited and are much closer to citizenship than they possibly would have been otherwise.”
The Bethlehem Project is designed to meet the needs of employees and the businesses they work for. While hardworking eligible employees obtain essential skills such as English language training that increase their earning potential and open doors for engagement in their new homeland, businesses and communities earn many benefits as well.
“We are thrilled to work in partnership with the Bethlehem Project,” said David Rattray, Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce Development for the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce. “Encouraging business to view themselves as an important component of the implementation of comprehensive immigration reform will ultimately enable California to gain an additional $4.6 billion annually.”
“Businesses have a unique opportunity to work with immigrants in their workforce and help them reach the dream of citizenship,” said Mark Falzone, Deputy Director of the National Immigration Forum. “With the entire nation debating immigration reform, now is the time for business to lead the way in immigrant integration services that are good for the bottom line and great for employees.”