Air Date

January 14, 2021

Featured Guest

Ali Noorani
President and CEO, National Immigration Forum


Despite the high unemployment rates the nation is experiencing due to COVID-19, some industries are facing workforce shortages. Some small businesses across the nation are scrambling to find talented employees to fill open roles, even while unemployed individuals are falling short in their job search efforts.

When looking to recruit talent, businesses may need to turn to immigrant workers who are equipped with the experience and skills that fit necessary positions. In order for the economy to recover and business to grow, especially during the current recession, we must prioritize immigration reform.

Immigration Reform Will Help Build a Talented Workforce

Immigration can be a divisive issue in the U.S., especially in relation to the workforce. However, many small businesses across the nation rely on immigrant workers, particularly in industries such as agriculture. Now, in the wake of COVID-19, these industries need immigration reform more than ever before.

Ali Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum, believes there is an opportunity and great potential for Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate to work together on immigration reform, so long as they can reach an agreement. The goal is to “marry” the ideas of both the dreamers and the farm workers.

The Last Reform to Immigration Policies Took Place Decades Ago

The last major immigration bill was passed in 1986 during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, with a smaller one passed in 1990 during George H.W. Bush’s presidency.

“[Immigrants] come to the U.S., I believe, for our democracy, because our democracy provides the freedom and opportunity for somebody to pursue their dreams,” said Noorani. Despite pushback from certain groups and the difficulty of addressing the issue, Noorani has hope that the country will address the long-overdue immigration reform.

“I think that this is the opportunity for Republicans in Congress [and] the Biden administration to see immigration as an opportunity to bring the country back together, create bipartisan change that meets the needs of the American worker and their families.”