Center for American Progress

Cabinet Secretaries Locke and Solis Share Their “American Story” and Discuss the Need for Immigration Reform
Press Statement

Cabinet Secretaries Locke and Solis Share Their “American Story” and Discuss the Need for Immigration Reform

CAP releases analysis on Immigration Reform in Today Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C.-During a joint appearance today at the Center for American Progress, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis shared their "American Stories" and their experiences as children of immigrants who rose to become members of President Obama’s cabinet. 

Locke and Solis head the agencies that are shepherding our nation’s business growth in a global economy while protecting all workers across the United States.

The secretaries’ conversation was hosted by John Podesta, a son and grandson of Greek and Italian immigrants, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for American Progress. The event coincided with the release of a policy brief by the Center’s immigration team entitled "Immigration Reform Will Enhance Economic Recovery." 

The following is a statement by Angela Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy:

“As Secretary Locke and Secretary Solis noted, the interests of business and labor are not at cross purposes when it comes to immigration reform. Indeed, organized labor and the business community both support reforms that strengthen and legalize the workforce.

"The secretaries underscored the seriousness of the White House immigration discussions and the Obama administration’s intention to move forward next year on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

"While it may seem counterintuitive to pass immigration legislation while the nation is experiencing a historic economic recession, the drop in undocumented migration to the U.S. offers breathing room to rationalize our immigration policies and implement reforms that will increase our tax base and boost economic growth while restoring control over our borders and in our workplaces. Employers will be forced to play by the same rules and eliminate under-the-table payrolls.

"The ‘American stories’ of Secretaries Locke and Solis also reminded us that their stories are similar to those of millions of immigrants who came to the United States and built it up through hard work, entrepreneurship, and innovation. They showed how extraordinary achievements can be reached by ordinary people. That is the American dream."