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America is a nation built by immigrants, but the current system is broken. America needs a strong and robust immigration system that protects the safety of America and those wanting to immigrate here, as well as enabling employers fill their labor needs. The current system fails on all of these.
ISSA members representing the entire supply chain of the cleaning industry are struggling to fill their labor needs in part due to the tight labor market and lack of immigration reform. Without necessary reforms our members cannot fulfill the needs of their customers.
As a result, ISSA is calling on Congress and the administration fix the fundamental problems with the immigration system by passing comprehensive immigration reform. We also acknowledge the need for all sides of the issue to compromise in order to fix the problems. ISSA urges policymakers to include the following reforms:
- Reform should be comprehensive and address border security, future workforce needs, including the existing unauthorized worker population and those who face uncertain status such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and a workable employment eligibility verification system.
- Reform should create an immigration system that allows for sufficient immigrants and temporary workers to meet the economic needs of the country.
- Reform should create a program for hard working, tax-paying unauthorized workers to earn permanent status after meeting strict requirements such as law enforcement screening and learning English, as well as providing certainty for DACA and TPS recipients.
- Reform should create a fair employment eligibility verification system that functions efficiently, effectively, and inexpensively for employers, workers, and government agencies. Any mandate to use e-Verify or another workforce verification system must be phased in a way that does not cause massive workforce disruption.
- Reform should ensure that foreign workers do not displace U.S. workers.
- Reform should strengthen homeland security by providing for the screening of foreign workers and creating a disincentive for illegal immigration.
- Reform should strengthen the rule of law by establishing clear, sensible immigration laws that are efficiently and vigorously enforced.
- Reform should create a non-seasonal temporary worker program that allows an employer to hire foreign workers when efforts to recruit America workers are unsuccessful. The number of visas available under a new temporary worker program should be based on economic need, rather than an arbitrary cap. Implementing a functional temporary worker program will strengthen border security and improve American productivity.
- Reform should maintain existing seasonal and temporary visa programs such as the H-2B program and the J-1 program. These programs serve specific industry segments and should be separate from a new temporary worker program.
Here are some resources for those wanting more information about immigration reform:
Immigration Reform: A Way Forward – National Association of Manufacturers
The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) is a broad-based coalition of national businesses and trade associations who are concerned with the shortage of both semi-skilled and unskilled labor.