05.16.13

Continued Progress On Immigration Reform

From The Senate Judiciary Committee Majority Staff
S. 744: The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

#CIRmarkup: Continued Progress On Immigration Reform

RECAP:  The Senate Judiciary Committee has concluded two days of markup of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The Committee debated dozens of amendments offered by both Republicans and Democrats to the “pre-title,” Title I, and Title IV of the bill, focusing on border security and non-immigrant visas. 

Coming Up Today in the Committee

Today, the Committee will continue consideration of Title IV of the bill, which pertains to non-immigrant visas, and is expected to consider additional amendments impacting visas for entrepreneurs and startups that create jobs in America.  When the Committee concludes consideration of amendments to Title IV, it is expected to turn to the E-Verify amendments under Title III.

*Scheduling Note: The Senate will hold a roll call vote around 2:00 p.m. today.

Immigrant Workers Increase Economic Productivity

Studies show that “immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead many immigrants complement the work of U.S. employees and increase their productivity.” [Brookings, 9/1/10; Peri, 8/30/10]

o   A 2009 study by the Cato Institute agrees, noting “low-skilled immigrants chase[] native-born workers up the occupational ladder,” because of a “positive occupation-mix effect.” [Cato, 2009]

Countless businesses have testified about the need for immigration reform to address labor shortages in their industries.  For example, the President of the business coalition Immigration Works has said:

“It’s no accident that my members are constantly complaining about their difficulties finding workers.  The pool they have to draw on is shrinking alarmingly.  For those seeking to hire unskilled men of prime working age, the supply of U.S. workers is literally half the size it was in 1970.  But if anything demand for less-skilled workers is growing.” [Jacoby, 4/22/13]

Failure to address the labor needs of today’s businesses will take us back to the broken system of the 1980s.  Experts have noted that a key flaw of the 1986 Immigration Bill was that it “misjudged the high demand for immigrant labor in the United States.”  “Congress didn’t foresee at the time that employers would want more immigrants in the years ahead… That meant that after the 1986 reform passed, there was a bottleneck for legal immigration and weak rules against illicit hiring. Given the still-high demand for foreign labor, the end result was, predictably, a boom in illegal immigration.” [Washington Post, 1/30/13]

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