HR Policy Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce led the launch of the Legal Immigration and Border Enforcement Reform This Year (LIBERTY) Campaign, a new effort aimed at encouraging Congress to take action on immigration legislation that would pair border security with employment-based immigration options.
More than 430 business associations from all 50 states and spanning a host of industries including health care, manufacturing, restaurants, hospitality, retail, construction, agriculture, engineering, and food processing, signed on to a letter to lawmakers calling for action.
The LIBERTY Campaign urges lawmakers to consider bipartisan compromises that would break the current gridlock on Capitol Hill, including:
- Increasing the human, physical, and technological resources along the U.S. southern border and at ports of entry;
- Sensibly reforming our nation’s asylum laws;
- Instituting modern, effective, and efficient employment verification reforms;
- Significantly increasing annual quotas for employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visas;
- Expanding the scope of essential worker programs, specifically allowing employers to meet temporary labor needs in non-seasonal jobs;
- Creating new visa options for international students, entrepreneurs, and other high-demand workers to help American employers meet their critical workforce needs.
In a press statement, Timothy J. Bartl, President and CEO of HR Policy Association said, “Immigration reform is an employment and economic imperative. We need lawmakers to act to align our nation’s immigration policies with U.S. workforce needs at all skill levels to ensure global competitiveness. Companies currently employing foreign talent are facing the potential loss of critical individuals due to backlogs and delays in visa renewal processes. That is why HR Policy Association along with others in the employer community are calling on Congress to act through the launch of the LIBERTY Campaign.”
LIBERTY’s letter to Congress states “the failures of our current immigration system impose significant costs on American communities and our economy. Companies are experiencing significant workforce shortages despite their sizable investments in expanding U.S. talent pipelines. As a result, companies of all sizes and across a host of industries are wrestling with the myriad problems caused by their inability to adequately tap into global talent to meet their workforce needs. These issues can only be addressed by congressional action.”
Outlook: Currently, the House GOP is considering a border security package that proposes to restart construction of a border wall, offer bonuses to Border Patrol agents, and resume the Trump era “Remain in Mexico” program for migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. If the bill passes the House with a slim Republican majority, it is not expected to receive any traction in a Democrat-controlled Senate. However, it is feasible that discussions regarding a border security bill, coupled with pressure from the business community through the launch of the LIBERTY campaign, could inspire broader congressional action. The LIBERTY campaign will keep up messaging and pressure on the need for immigration reform throughout the 118th Congress.