The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) was established as a voice to advance business-centric, balanced immigration reform to meet the needs of the American workforce and job creation. As such, we write to express our long-standing views on business immigration and our concern for business and job creation in on-going policy debates.
At the forefront of the current immigration policy debate is the situation involving hundreds of thousands of established, productive immigrant workers in Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and who hold Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status (DACA). The vast majority of these immigrants are hardworking individuals who are contributing to our national economy, our communities and our industries.
As the national unemployment rate drops below 4%, filling critical positions in industries who are already experiencing chronic shortages has become even more difficult. The imminent threat of more than 1 million combined TPS and DACA workers leaving the U.S. workforce via Administrative action is going to seriously hurt our ability to maintain and grow our businesses and provide additional jobs to the U.S. workers who benefit from the contributions made by these foreign-born workers.
Many of these TPS and DACA workers have been contributing to our economy for decades and have become valued and productive members of the U.S. workforce. Going forward, a policy that recognizes their contribution to U.S. employers and the economy is urgently needed.
While EWIC takes no position on the political timing and processes currently being debated, it is without question that legislative reforms will serve to help stabilize the U.S. workforce for both workers and employers. Failure to address essential workers in the reform debate will cause turmoil and irreparable harm in industries like construction, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing, which are already hard-pressed to find enough workers to meet demand in a growing and robust economy. The loss of almost an additional one million workers will create similar, significant unwarranted and unnecessary disruptions and chaos in companies whose workforces include these contributors.
Legislation that supports TPS and DACA workers would help provide certainty to U.S. labor needs and markets. EWIC looks forward to continuing to work with all involved to find a balanced solution to the nation’s immigration policy problems and American workforce needs.
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. Among the principles we have long-held include:
- A workable guest worker program that properly accounts for America’s current and future workforce needs;
- An employment verification system that is easily accessible, fair, inexpensive, and efficient for all employers; and
- A realistic option for the 10-11 million immigrants in an unauthorized status that are living and working in the United States to earn legal status.