In March 2013, ImmigrationWorks sponsored a series of briefings for congressional staffers: panels of employers from across the U.S. explaining their reliance on immigrant workers. Panelists included a Georgia restaurateur, a manager of Colorado vacation rentals, the vice president of a Maryland construction company, a senior vice president at a large Midwest hospital and a Pennsylvania dairy farmer. They explained the kinds of jobs available at their businesses, the wages they offer, how they try to hire Americans and how immigrants help them keep their operations running and contributing to the economy.


MODERATOR Tamar Jacoby President and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA.

"Employers who hire immigrants believe the most important piece of the immigration puzzle is fixing the system so it works for the future. That means creating a way for the high- and low-skilled immigrants we need to keep the economy vibrant and competitive to enter the U.S legally and work."
Tad Mitchell Owner, Six Feet Under restaurants

"Most Americans apply for front-of-the-house positions. The few who do apply for jobs as cooks and dishwashers usually last only a few days and then quit. Back-of-the-house jobs are very tough – slippery floors, hot fryers and a fast pace all day long. We rely on immigrants to fill our back-of-the-house jobs."
Joe LeValley Senior vice president of planning and advocacy, Mercy Health Network
"We can’t find enough Americans to fill jobs in housekeeping, dietary and other departments in the hospital. If it weren’t for the Bosnian refugees, we wouldn’t have a housekeeping department."
Otto Girr Vice president of human resources, Miller & Long Concrete Construction

"We place job ads in the paper and on the internet. We go to job fairs and prisons to find ex-offenders who are willing to work. But we cannot find enough American workers. Nearly 80 percent of our 1,500 workers are immigrants. It’s hard to find qualified workers. The job is labor intensive and the working conditions are tough – it’s cold in winter and hot in the summer. We work early and late."

Lisa Graybeal Owner, Graywood farms

"Dairy farmers need a useable temporary worker visa program. We cannot use the agricultural temporary worker program because it's for seasonal workers and dairies need workers year-round. We depend on immigrant workers – without them, we would have to downsize or even close."
Dale Bugby Owner, Vail Resort Rentals

"There has been a dramatic shift in our workforce. Thirty years ago, our workers in housekeeping were all Americans. Today they are all Hispanic. No American has applied for a housekeeping job at my company for more than 15 years. Even in the downturn, we’ve placed ads in the paper for jobs paying $17 an hour and no one applies."
Nicholas Logothetis Board member and senior advisor, the Libra Group

"The Eb-5 investor visa application is 4,000 pages. It’s extremely difficult and you get the feeling after a few months that the government is trying to discourage you from obtaining the visa. Many people don’t apply because the administrative process is too onerous."