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U.S. Chamber Continues to Support Legal Immigration Programs

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 8:00pm

U.S. Chamber Continues to Support Legal Immigration Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following remarks today by President Obama on the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, Randel K. Johnson, issued the following statement:

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long called for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes securing the borders; providing an earned pathway to legalization; and a new, nationally implemented employment verification system, and has worked towards that goal for a decade. We welcome President Obama’s remarks today on the importance of fixing our broken immigration system.

“As our economy rebounds, the need for legal foreign workers will rise. Visa restrictions and artificial caps, especially those for temporary H-1B high-skilled, H-2A agricultural workers, and H-2B low-skilled seasonal worker categories, hurt U.S. business’s ability to compete and thrive, grow our economy, and create jobs for U.S. workers.

“That is why a critical element of comprehensive immigration reform must be a program to supply the U.S. economy with the workers it needs to help recover from the downturn while we simultaneously work to educate and train more American workers for those professions.

“In addition, a sensible new visa program that automatically adapts to the needs of the market would also remove the incentives to enter illegally. Without a new legal employment-based immigration program, mass legalization with enforcement alone would repeat the mistake of 1986 that left us with over 10 million illegals twenty years later.

“Clearly, employers must first try to hire American workers before they are allowed to hire foreign workers. At that point, there should be a new provisional visa program that gives employers, not the government or a commission, the primary say in which workers they need for their businesses to function.

“The U.S. Chamber stands ready to work with the administration and Congress to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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