Key Vote Alert - S. 744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013"
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending America’s free enterprise system, urges you to support cloture and final passage of S. 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.”
The Chamber believes this bill is a strong, positive step towards transforming America’s broken immigration system into one that drives job creation and economic growth by both better meeting the needs of employers, and better utilizing the unique talents of people here and abroad.
S. 744 would improve U.S. competitiveness, help attract and retain the best talent and workers, secure the nation’s borders, and reaffirm America’s legacy as an open and welcoming society.
This legislation would achieve these goals by addressing the four critical elements of reform: increased border security; reform and creation of workable temporary worker programs along with fixing flaws with the employer-sponsored green card system; a balanced and workable employment verification system; and a legalization program with tight criteria and a path to eventual citizenship.
S. 744’s “border surge” provision would undoubtedly help ensure that America’s borders become better secured than they are today. In addition, by eliminating the backlog of green card petitions, employees, employers, and family members alike would not encounter the frustrating incoherence of the current legal immigration system. And by creating workable guest worker programs across all industries—high-skilled, lesser-skilled, and agriculture—S. 744 would provide employers with legal avenues to hire foreign workers when necessary to create jobs and promote economic growth that this country so desperately needs.
Additionally, the provision in S. 744 requiring a mandatory employment verification system would promote the rule of law by helping to ensure that only people authorized to work are employed in the U.S., turning off the “jobs magnet” for unauthorized workers under the current system. S. 744 also includes a sensible solution for those here illegally that would allow them to come out of the shadows and earn a legal status through a tough, but fair, process.
While S. 744 takes these many positive steps towards fixing our broken immigration system, the Chamber strongly urges Congress to also address, at a minimum, provisions concerning E-Verify safe harbor for employers, new fees for immigrant and non-immigrant petitions, and foreign labor contracting.
The Chamber applauds the efforts of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” for their leadership on this issue, and commends the hard work of the entire Senate on this difficult and controversial proposal. For too long, the well-being of American citizens and businesses have been ill-served by an immigration system that hinders – rather than promotes – job creation and economic growth.
Passage of S. 744 will help America move closer towards an immigration system that benefits both American businesses and workers alike. The Chamber will include votes on, or in relation to, S. 744, including votes on cloture and final passage of the bill, in our How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten