Bill Marriott Presses Congress for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2006 - Calling for "good, comprehensive immigration reform," J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR), today said he hopes Congress "works out their differences," to do "what is right for our industry, our economy and our nation of immigrants."
Speaking at a global tourism and travel conference here, Marriott rhetorically asked, "Do you industry executives think of yourselves as felons?" He continued, "We need to stand together to include everyone in our very diverse work force. It is the diversity of our workforce that makes us great, yet some in Congress want to criminalize the undocumented and their employers."
Marriott said that the U.S. faces "long-term labor shortages, especially at the entry level," and that hospitality industry employment was a "near- record highs." He said the industry needed workers from other nations to fill necessary jobs.
While developed nations worldwide are facing cultural and economic challenges fostered by immigration, providing opportunities was critical, said Mr. Marriott. "Every country will want to regulate immigration for the sake of its security and citizens, but we must pursue policies that allow people to seek the chance to build better lives for themselves and their families," he said.
Marriott also reiterated his call for policies allowing freer travel to the U.S., saying that difficulty obtaining U.S. visas was preventing millions of visitors from contributing to the U.S. economy. "Last year, 30 million Chinese traveled abroad. They flocked to France, Germany Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao. But only 200,000 of that 30 million -- came to the U.S.," he said.
Marriott hailed the burgeoning travel and tourism industry, citing increasing wealth worldwide, particularly in China, India, Russia and Eastern Europe. He also noted that in the U.S. baby boomers were retiring with plenty of disposable income and that Generations X and Y behind them loved to travel. He said that while encouraging this active growth the industry needed to remain a "positive force for good" focused on protecting the environment and working with governments and international agencies to prevent human trafficking.
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. (NYSE: MAR - News) is a leading lodging company with over 2,700 lodging properties in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club International, Horizons, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. Marriott is also in the synthetic fuel business. The company is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has approximately 143,000 employees. In fiscal year 2005, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of $11.6 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at http://www.marriott.com.
|Marriott International, Inc.
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