The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) congratulates the Senate on meeting an important milestone in the quest for comprehensive immigration reform – passage of S. 744 out of committee.
We believe that S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, addresses many of the major elements needed by the business community. It includes a template for a new lesser-skilled temporary worker program for the economy to get the workers needed from abroad when US workers are unavailable; a mechanism for the undocumented to earn legal status after being screened and paying a penalty; other legal immigration reforms for employment based immigrants; and, there is an employment verification system in this legislation that is a starting point for discussions on further improvements in this aspect of comprehensive reform. EWIC looks forward to improving this and other portions of the bill as the debate moves forward. We look forward to this bill moving to the Senate floor and, ultimately to passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that meet the needs of industries that rely on essential workers.
As the overall immigration debate continues, we are still focused on the electronic employment eligibility verification system and the proposed new lesser-skilled worker visa program. Amongst other things, we need to be sure that employers can use this system efficiently and without much burden – financial or otherwise. In addition, we want to work to improve the starting number of visas for new temporary workers and ensure the formula for adjusting those numbers meets economic demands. We also want to work to improve the scope of this visa program so that all industries can participate fully.