TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
It is long past time for Congress to act on the important task of fixing our broken immigration system. While no single bill is likely to resolve all of the many outstanding problems in current immigration laws, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will judge proposals based on whether they move closer to or further away from reform.
On that basis, the U.S. Chamber opposes H.R. 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act of 2018. The Chamber supports the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, the compromise legislative effort being led by Speaker Ryan, though we very much hope that further improvement will be made to the current proposal. The Chamber will include votes on, or in relation to, these bills in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
The Chamber opposes H.R. 4760 because it would exacerbate the problems of the current immigration system:
- First, the legislation does not permanently address the plight of Dreamers.
- Second, H.R. 4760 would drastically cut future legal immigration—by 25 percent or more—to the U.S. This significant reduction would only exacerbate the struggle many employers face in meeting their workforce needs and would ultimately reduce economic growth.
The Chamber supports the compromise legislation crafted by Speaker Ryan and others that would address some critical problems with the current immigration system:
- First, the bill would permanently address the plight of Dreamers by allowing them to become lawful permanent residents with the ability to obtain citizenship in the future.
- Second, this proposal would significantly improve border security.
- Third, this legislation would reprioritize the allocation of immigrant visas to better match America’s economic and workforce needs.
This compromise proposal is not perfect, and even with its passage, much work will remain to address long-term immigration issues. For example, the bill should be revised to eliminate the small reduction in legal immigration in the future.
It should provide adequate grandfathering for individuals who have approved visa petitions in the family-based immigrant visa preference categories being eliminated. Finally, we believe the bill could be expanded to address the pending rescission of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for individuals who have previously been allowed to legally live and work in the U.S. for an extended period of time; in some cases, individual TPS recipients have been legally working in the U.S. for two decades.
The United States is at a crossroads on immigration. Elected leaders must remember that the ability for someone to become an American is unique to our national identity and is part of what makes this nation great. Legislation, such as H.R. 4760, would not only exacerbate the current immigration system’s problems, but the bill sends an implicit message that America no longer seeks to be the open, welcoming society that it has been for generations. We urge you to vote against H.R. 4760 and support the compromise immigration proposal that would improve border security, provide permanent relief for Dreamers, and institute modest reforms to the immigration system to better serve the nation’s economic interests.
Suzanne P. Clark
Senior Executive Vice President
U.S. Chamber of Commerce