From WILL - News Local/State -

Champaign, Urbana Mayors Call For Immigration Reform

Champaign Mayor Don Gerard

Champaign Mayor Don Gerard in Urbana on Oct. 14, 2013. (Sean Powers/WILL)

Nearly two-dozen Illinois mayors, including those in Champaign and Urbana, are urging the state’s Congressional delegation to support immigration reform.

The mayors are making a business case, rather than pushing for a particular bill. In a letter to lawmakers, they say updating the nation’s immigration policy would be an economic boon by creating jobs and increasing revenues.

Champaign Mayor Don Gerard said that is critical for his community, which is home to the University of Illinois’ flagship campus.

“You know, one of the biggest things is just retaining talent, whether it’s Asian students or Norwegian students or German or Canadian, or whatever at the University of Illinois is allowing individuals to make a choice to be part of our community and keep their talents here, and help our local businesses, industries, innovators, entrepreneurs thrive," Gerard said.

Mayors from Chicago, Bloomington, Normal, and Peoria also signed the letter, which stressed the importance of border security.

The Democratically-led U-S Senate passed an immigration bill over the summer. One of its architects is Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin. Republican House Speaker John Boehner said hei s hopeful the House can move on immigration reform before the end of the year.