The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) applauds the reintroduction of the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act – H.R. 4288. This bill, coming amidst efforts to develop solutions on immigration reform, shows that Congress is poised to act on this important issue as lawmakers consider how best to address our nation’s broken immigration policy and economic needs. Providing for a legal avenue to allow job creators to address chronic workforce shortages is long overdue.
EWIC’s members believe that a key component of reforming our nation’s broken immigration system is creating a vehicle for foreign workers to enter the U.S. legally in accord with economic demand. Such a program would facilitate the employment of essential workers by U.S. companies and organizations, allowing employers to supplement U.S. workers and sustain and grow their businesses and economic impact. Current immigration law provides no year-round temporary worker visa for an enormous portion of our economy. EWIC supports reform of U.S. immigration policy to provide for a visa program to fill this economic gap.
The re-introduction of this legislation demonstrates a necessary commitment to a balanced U.S. immigration system that includes a workable system to ensure that legal foreign-born workers can enter on a temporary basis to work in the less-skilled sectors of the economy. H.R. 4288 creates a commonsense visa system that allows the U.S. government to ensure that workers and employers are utilizing the system as it was intended, that visa holders are complying with its rules, and that the program is operating in a way that helps U.S. workers and the economy. Importantly, the legislation creates a program that is a critical component to reducing future illegal immigration, while levelling the playing field for sectors such as hospitality, home health care, construction, retail, food processing, and other industries who currently have no visa program that allows them to legally hire year-round temporary workers — while the agriculture and high-skilled industries in our economy have access to their own programs.
We believe that the concepts contained in H.R. 4288 have the potential to address critically and currently unmet needs in the debate on immigration and help break the policy logjam now inhibiting the development of consensus solutions needed to truly fix our immigration system. The legislation provides a way to address the lack of a program for a huge portion of the U.S. economy, and provides an opportunity to fix a critical gap in U.S. immigration law, helping to stop illegal entry into the U.S. We strongly support H.R. 4288 and hope it will be considered as part of the discussion on common sense solutions to our nation’s decades-old challenges in immigration policy.