The fashion industry's fight for immigration rights rages on. Many designers have used the runway to make a political statement last season, but the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has recently taken a huge step in the battle for immigration reform.
On Monday morning, April 10, the CFDA joined forces with FWD.us — an organization which advocates for immigration reform — and held a press conference, which included speakers like Diane von Furstenberg and New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, to discuss their report on immigration as well as the fashion industry.
According to Vanity Fair, the report highlighted the devastating impact deportation would have on the fashion industry, the third largest in New York, and the country's job growth and economy. Based on the report, the fashion industry in New York City employs 180,000 people throughout 900 different companies, generating a total of over $10 billion in wages.
In both the conference and the new report released, the fashion leaders and elected officials introduced policy changes that would promote the growth of the fashion industry, create opportunities for international designers, and create more American jobs through immigration reform.
CFDA President and CEO Steve Kolb explained, "The CFDA's mission is to strengthen the influence and success of American designers in the global economy. In order to continue the U.S.' success and influence in the fashion industry, we must recruit the best talent from all over the world."
"If the United States wants to lead the world in fashion innovation, we need immigration policies that embrace the talented foreigners who come here to build and grow," he added.
In partnership with FWD.us, the CFDA outlined a solution to immigration problems in their report. According to Cosmopolitan, the general idea is to increase the number of skill-based visas given out annually, create an entrepreneurial visa which could help recruit and retain talented foreign-born workers and provide a pathway to legalized citizenship for non-criminal undocumented workers who are already in the United States.
The report also called attention to two bills which are already in the process of review by the lawmakers in Washington: the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act and the Recognizing America's Children (RAC) Act.