The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition was formed to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that includes secure borders, a pathway to lawful status for unauthorized immigrants, a fair, efficient and workable employment eligibility verification system and a guest worker program that responds to the future workforce needs of our economy. We commend the “Gang of 8” Senators for working towards these goals.
We know the intent of the legislation you are drafting is to create a guest worker program that responds to the future needs of the economy and avoids the mistakes made by previous reforms, which had the unintended consequence of creating a black market for illegal labor. Creating a functional future flow program will strengthen border security and improve American productivity.
Unfortunately, we believe that the guest worker program contained in the current proposal, as we understand it, fails to achieve these goals. For employers, we need a system that allows us to address the thousands of positions currently going unfilled. The proposed program is too expensive, cumbersome and bureaucratic for most businesses even to consider using it.
Creating a future flow program is a serious issue that should be addressed with the intent of usefulness and success. A program with a limited number of visas, an unworkably high cost to employers, and overly complicated eligibility criteria will not allow for a functional program that works for employers or for our nation’s economy in the long-term.
We encourage you to consider an approach to a guest worker program that does not repeat the mistakes of previous immigration reform efforts and looks towards the workforce demands of the 21st century.
EWIC SIGNATORY MEMBERS
American Hotel & Lodging Association
American Meat Institute
Associated Builders and Contractors
Associated General Contractors of America
Federation of Employers & Workers of America
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
International Franchise Association
National Association of Home Builders
National Association of Manufacturers
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Retail Federation
National Roofing Contractors Association
Professional Landcare Network
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
EWIC is a broad-based coalition of national businesses and trade associations from across the industry spectrum concerned with the shortage of both semi-skilled and unskilled (“essential worker”) labor. EWIC supports policies that facilitate the employment of essential workers by U.S. companies that are unable to find American workers.