Letter on Immigration Reform
May 22, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges Congress to continue work on achieving comprehensive immigration reform this year. The Chamber applauds the hard work of a bipartisan team of senators and the Administration for their role in crafting S.1348, which is a blueprint for debate in the Senate floor for workable reform legislation. The Chamber realizes that many difficult issues remain, but it is critical that the process moves forward. The current system is clearly broken and states are naturally reacting to the lack of action at the federal level with a patchwork of immigration laws and enforcement—exposing employers who must deal with a broken legal structure to unfair liability. The status quo is clearly unacceptable.
While the Chamber has particular concerns with S. 1348 and looks forward to working with the Senate to seek important improvements, many difficult issues have already been addressed. The contours of a sound compromise are there, addressing all the major elements needed by the business community: a path to recruit future workers needed from abroad when there are not enough U.S. workers available; a mechanism for undocumented workers to earn legal status; and a new employment verification system. The package also includes strong border protection provisions.
The Chamber understands that amendments will be offered today that would gut the future essential worker program. The Chamber urges you to protect this key program in the legislation. It is critical that the number of "Y" visas be kept at 400,000 with a market based regulator to allow the cap to increase or decrease in accordance with the needs of the economy. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that prior to bringing a worker into the United States under the new program, the employer must thoroughly test the labor market to show that there was no qualified U.S. worker willing and able to take the position being filled by the Y-visa holder.
Because of the need to fix the United States' broken immigration system, the Chamber urges you to continue to work with the business community as the legislation proceeds through the amendment process.
R. Bruce Josten