Letter to oppose the Sanders-Grassley amendment to S. 1348, the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007
June 7, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
On behalf of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation of more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region, I urge you to oppose the Sanders-Grassley amendment to S. 1348, the "Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007." This amendment would prohibit companies from obtaining any H-1B workers if there has been a notice or a "mass layoff" under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act in the past year, or if there will be a layoff in the next six months. Also, the Chamber urges you to support a side-by-side offered by Senator Lieberman.
The Sanders-Grassley amendment is unnecessary. Current law already prohibits companies hiring H-1B workers from displacing U.S. workers both "directly" within it's own workforce, or "secondarily" at the worksite of another employer. An employer must ensure that no similarly employed U.S. worker will be displaced within 90 days before or 90 days after the petition has been filed.
Further, this amendment sweeps too broadly, and is completely unworkable, as it would effectively bar an employer from using H-1B workers if it had a "mass layoff" in the past year or anticipated one in the near future, regardless of whether the jobs involved in the layoff were related to the positions to be filled by the H-1B worker. For example, an employer that needed to close a manufacturing line in one state would be prohibited from hiring an H-1B worker as an engineer to develop a new product line at a research and development facility in another state. Such short-sightedness would further hinder the employer's ability to develop new product lines, hire more U.S. workers, and compete in the global market.
The Chamber appreciates your attention to this important matter and urges you to oppose the Sanders-Grassley amendment.
R. Bruce Josten