EMPLOYER OP-ED CAMPAIGN
During the August recess, ImmigrationWorks recruited a dozen employers nationwide to publish op-ed pieces in their local newspapers. The topic: why they hire immigrant workers and what they need from immigration reform. Signatories included the president of the New Mexico Chile Association, a Colorado hotelier and the vice president of a large Texas construction firm. Together, the pieces reached more than 1.9 million readers in districts represented by lawmakers whose support will be needed to pass reform in the House.
EVENT WITH TEXAS CONGRESSMAN
On August 20, ImmigrationWorks sponsored an event in Houston with House Judiciary Committee member Ted Poe and a panel of Texas employers who rely on less-skilled immigrant workers. Among the sectors represented: construction, landscaping, restaurants and real estate. The employers’ message: every regional labor market is different, and businesses need a flexible, easy-to-use guest worker program that responds in real time to varying labor market conditions. Rep. Poe is expected to cosponsor a low-skilled worker visa bill this fall.
A GRASSROOTS TOOLKIT
As the congressional recess kicked off in early August, ImmigrationWorks distributed an advocacy toolkit to its national network of employers and employer representatives: a checklist of suggested activities, a primer on the economics of immigration, talking points and tips for inviting a member of Congress to tour your business.
TEXAS AND ARIZONA EMPLOYERS ASK FOR MORE WORKER VISAS
In late July, more than 270 Texas and Arizona business leaders signed letters to their congressional representatives, urging them to support a temporary worker program for less-skilled immigrants. ImmigrationWorks worked with state groups to coordinate the letters. The principal goal: to persuade House Judiciary Committee members Lamar Smith and Trent Franks to support worker visas.
EMPLOYERS BRIEF REPUBLICAN POLICY COMMITTEE
In mid-July, ImmigrationWorks brought a panel of employers to the Capitol to brief members of the Republican Policy Committee. Speakers included the owner of a New Mexico food processing business, a Colorado realtor and a former manager of Pulte Homes. They explained how their industries rely on immigrant workers and what they would like to see included in a House reform package.
REPORT ON LESS-SKILLED IMMIGRANT WORKERS
In June, ImmigrationWorks and the American Enterprise Institute released a new report, Filling the gap: Less-skilled immigration in a changing economy. Among the findings: low-skilled immigrants meet a vital need for employers in a broad spectrum of essential industries. Immigrants rarely compete with Americans. They bring different skills and strengths, and the jobs they hold support and create jobs for Americans, freeing them to move up to slots that require more communications skills and managerial ability. The report was coauthored by Madeline Zavodny, an adjunct scholar at AEI, formerly with the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Atlanta.
CHAMPIONING LESS-SKILLED WORKER VISAS
ImmigrationWorks has played a leading role in the debate about a new visa program for less-skilled foreign workers. IW collaborated with business allies to design the blueprint for the W visa title in the Senate bill, then worked closely with Gang of Eight Republicans crafting the legislation. IW president Tamar Jacoby testified on the program before the Senate Judiciary Committee and rallied a broad coalition of Washington business groups to support needed changes to the proposal. In the House, IW is working with lawmakers to improve on the Senate bill and expand the number of visas available. Next step, in early fall: working with House allies to move a measure through the House Judiciary Committee and build support for it among members at large.
CEO DISCUSSES ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF REFORM
In June 2013, Andrew Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's brands, joined a panel of immigration experts and advocates in Washington to discuss the nation's need for less-skilled immigrant workers. ImmigrationWorks USA and the American Enterprise Institute cosponsored the event.
DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN DISCUSS BIPARTISAN LAWMAKING
In June 2013, ImmigrationWorks and the New America Foundation cosponsored an event on the unlikely bipartisanship emerging in the Senate immigration debate. IW president Tamar Jacoby, a leading Republican supporter of reform, squared off with NDN president Simon Rosenberg, a leading Democratic supporter. Among the topics they discussed: what it will take to keep bipartisanship alive in coming months as the battle shifts from the Senate to the House.
A SURVEY OF H-2B EMPLOYERS
In June, ImmigrationWorks conducted a survey of employers who rely on the H-2B seasonal worker visa program. Respondents found the Department of Labor's suspended processing H-2B visa applications extremely disruptive. Some H-2B workers arrived months after they were scheduled to start working, and a number of businesses experienced revenue losses in the tens of thousands of dollars. Employers were also concerned about the likely impact of a pending DOL wage rule, which several stated could have the effect of putting them out of business entirely.
A SERIES OF CAPITOL HILL BRIEFINGS
In spring and summer 2013, ImmigrationWorks held a series of educational briefings for congressional staffers. Participants included employers and employer representatives from across the industries that rely on immigrant workers: executives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association, Associated Builders and Contractors and an array of employers from beyond the beltway. Among the topics discussed: high-skilled immigration, low-skilled immigration, needed fixes to the agricultural worker visa program, E-Verify and the business perspective on legalization for unauthorized immigrants. Small and medium-sized business owners explained how they need immigrant workers to keep their businesses open and contributing to the economy. More than 200 congressional staffers, Democrat and Republican, attended briefings.
SURVEY ON E-VERIFY USE IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY
In May 2013, ImmigrationWorks and the National Restaurant Association released the results of a survey on use of E-Verify in the restaurant industry. Respondents included 789 restaurateurs and others in the food service business. Among the findings: 23 percent of the restaurant owners and operators surveyed are using E-Verify – and 49 percent of corporate-owned restaurants are enrolled in the program. Nearly 80 percent of those enrolled report that the system is 100 percent accurate, and 80 percent would recommend it to a colleague.
A DINNER SERIES FOR BUSINESS LEADERS AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS As debate intensified in the House, ImmigrationWorks continued its series of small off-the-record dinners bringing together business leaders and members of Congress on the front lines of the debate about immigration. Among the lawmakers who have attended dinners: Sens. Michael Bennet and Mike Lee and Reps. Raul Labrador and Ted Poe. Business attendees have included executives from Washington trade associations and national corporations as well as business leaders from the members' home districts.
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May 21, 2013