The Emerging Consensus: Do CIR Now!

After years of ceaseless partisan bickering, it may look like a sign of the apocalypse: interest groups – both right and left – are forging a broad consensus on immigration reform, finding common purpose in the recognition that our current system is no longer up to the task. Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO – the voice of business and the voice of organized labor – both gave their full-throated endorsement to a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration laws.

Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, delivered his “State of American Business” address on January 10th, making a compelling case for prompt action on CIR.

“Given our changing demographics, we need more workers to sustain our economy, support our retired population, and to stay competitive. Even with high unemployment, we have millions of job openings that go unfilled. Either the workers come here to fill those jobs or the companies take all of their jobs somewhere else… We are locked in a global competition for the world’s best talent. This is the competition that will separate the economic leaders from the laggards in the 21st century.” [See State of American Business, Remarks by Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 10.Jan.2013.]

Donohue called for secure borders, guest worker programs that bring much-needed labor and talent into our economy, and provisional visas for less-skilled workers. It’s also imperative, he said, to expand the caps for high-skilled visas and provide more green cards for foreign STEM graduates of American universities.

In an article on the AFL-CIO WebSite that same week, the labor movement made its case for comprehensive immigration reform, outlining several key reasons it will be good for all workers. [See 10 Reasons All Workers Benefit from Fixing the Immigration System, by Mike Hall, AFL-CIO Now, 08.Jan.2013.]  Among them:

  • The entire U.S. economy will grow.
  • Wages will rise for both immigrant and native workers.
  • More jobs will be created.
  • Added tax revenues from new jobs and higher wages will help local communities and states maintain and improve public services, including education.
  • It’s the right thing to do.

When it comes time to parse through the legislative proposals coming from Capitol Hill, there are sure to be some disagreements about the details, but what’s most important, at this juncture, is the widespread agreement that CIR needs to happen now.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.