TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports H.R. 6, the “American Dream and Promise Act,” and H.R. 1603, the “Farm Workforce Modernization Act.” The Chamber will consider including votes on these bills in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
Congressional reform of America’s outdated and dysfunctional immigration laws is long overdue. While neither of these bills solves all the problems within the immigration system, they provide bipartisan solutions to very important issues.
The American Dream and Promise Act would provide protections for millions of Dreamers or beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. Many American businesses are very concerned about the uncertain future facing their employees that are Dreamers or beneficiaries of the TPS program. There are also many American workers who are personally invested in these individuals’ long-term well-being in the U.S. because they are employed at a business that was started by a Dreamer or a TPS recipient. The vast majority of Dreamers know no other home than the U.S., while many TPS beneficiaries have legally lived and worked in the U.S. for roughly two decades. H.R. 6 would also provide relief for “legal dreamers,” the foreign-born children of many nonimmigrant workers who lose their legal status once they reach 21 years of age, which would allow many other promising young people to pursue their version of the “American Dream.”
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act seeks to provide workforce stability for agricultural commodity producers in many critical ways. The lack of a sufficient agricultural workforce in America harms the interests of not only the farmers whose crops rot in their fields; these harms extend to the shipping company that would have transported those products and the retailers that would have sold them. These workforce uncertainties have allowed foreign producers to gain market share, which will cause American businesses to become less competitive the longer these labor problems persist.
H.R. 1603 would allow unauthorized farm workers to earn legal status in the U.S. and address future agricultural workforce needs by updating the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program. Most notably, it would provide H-2A eligibility to employers who have year-round labor needs, which is critical for dairy and livestock. Furthermore, the bill would enhance domestic security by making the use of E-Verify mandatory for employers seeking to hire temporary agricultural workers.
The Chamber understands that there are many other problems with America’s immigration system that desperately need to be addressed and there will likely be further negotiations on these proposals moving forward. The Chamber is committed to working with members of both parties to advance these bills, and we urge all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote in support of H.R. 6 and H.R. 1603.
Senior Vice President
U.S. Chamber of Commerce