Coke's Kent joins push to overhaul immigration

Coke's Kent joins push to overhaul immigration

The head of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company and the chief executives for 10 other businesses from across the country are urging Congress to revamp the nation’s “broken immigration system.”

In a letter to Congress Tuesday, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent and the others said Congress should create a visa program for “less-skilled foreign workers seeking year-round jobs.”

“This is indispensable for our businesses, but it’s also critical for the nation,” the letter says. “Without a workable temporary visa program, the U.S. can have no hope of ending illegal immigration.”

The letter also urges federal lawmakers to provide a way for immigrants living illegally in the U.S. to “earn their way onto the right side of the law.” It also calls for better immigration enforcement and a way for employers to verify if their new hires are eligible to work in the U.S.

“Our broken immigration system is not a problem that can be put off,” the letter adds. “The stakes could hardly be higher. We need Congress to act.”

The U.S. Senate passed omnibus immigration legislation on a bipartisan vote last year. Among other things, the measure aims to boost border security, clear out massive backlogs in the legal immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship for people living without legal status in the U.S. The Republican-led House has refused to vote on the bill, saying it would reward lawbreakers with “amnesty.” House leaders said they prefer to take a piecemeal approach and are considering more narrowly-focused measures.

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