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White House planning a party for companies that hire immigrants and help them become citizens

An August 24, 2014 photo shows the front of the White House as seen from Lafayette Square in Washington, DC. (AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN MANDEL)

The Obama administration is asking people to identify companies that hire immigrants and help them apply for U.S. citizenship, and wants to invite some of these companies to the White House for a celebration.

A post on the White House website said immigrants "make up the backbone of many small, large, and emerging businesses," and said immigrants help expand the skills of the U.S. workforce.

The White House plans to invite companies that hire immigrants to the White House to celebrate their policy of hiring immigrants. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN

"Our country is stronger and our businesses are stronger when everyone has a stake," wrote Julie Rodriguez, White House deputy director for public engagement. "As a result, some businesses have begun providing assistance to qualified employees with the citizenship process."

"We would like to recognize these efforts so today, we're asking you to help us identify and honor these leaders who are strengthening their businesses and the workforce by helping immigrants through the citizenship process," she wrote. "These extraordinary leaders will be invited to the White House to celebrate their accomplishments and showcase their actions to amplify the lesson that helping immigrant workers become citizens is not just compassionate but also good business."

Those who are invited will be honored as a "Champion of Change." The White House is asking people to nominate company owners and managers by September 30.

Many Republicans have argued that the Obama administration is going out of its way to cozy up to immigrants at the expense of U.S. workers. President Barack Obama is reportedly considering executive action to create a protected status for millions of illegal immigrants, and allow them to apply for work permits.

Members of Congress like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) have argued that millions of qualified Americans are still looking for work, and that the Obama administration needs to give priority to those unemployed people.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the income of noncitizens working in the United States rose 15 times faster than the income of native-born U.S. workers.

The White House said it is looking for people to nominate small business owners who provide civic lessons to their immigrant workers, managers that provide English language lessons to employees, company owners who provide citizenship information to their workers, and labor unions who provide access to citizenship services.

"We are looking forward to hosting this event and to highlighting the incredible work that businesses across the country are doing to strengthen our workforce, economy, and country," the White House said.

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