tags: Press Releases

The American Economy and Workforce Suffers When Nativist Republicans Oppose Immigration Reform

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More Reports on the Essential Value of Immigrants to Our Economy

Washington, DC –  As labor shortages, supply chain issues and inflation continue to cause harm to the U.S. economy and backlogged visa systems make it harder for immigrant workers to enter the country, it is clear that lack of action on reforming the system is inflicting consequences on the U.S. economy and dampening our economic potential. Immigration is essential to addressing labor shortages, especially in key industries and visas for those coming and legal status for those already here are both important aspects of how immigration reform can help address what ails us.

A range of voices in recent days have highlighted the economic costs, consequences, and missed opportunities caused by our failure to enact – over strenuous, decades-long Republican opposition – needed reforms to facilitate legal immigration and legalize millions already living and working here..

  • In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Jason L. Riley writes that, “Engagement with the workforce has diminished across all segments of the population. Labor-force participation has slid among men and women, prime-age workers and retirees, the high-skilled and the low-skilled. ‘Engagement in work is down in the United States, with important ramifications for all of the major pressing national economic issues.’ Foreign workers could help ease shortages in such industries as agriculture, forestry and hospitality. Guest-worker programs would also free up more border resources to vet asylum claims and track narcotics traffickers and other bad actors who currently avoid detection by hiding among the far more numerous economic migrants.” 
  • Andrew Kreighbaum notes in a report from Bloomberg, ‘Visa Bottlenecks Are Creating Headaches for Employers, Workers’ : “As the US immigration system recovers from the pandemic, the return to normal has been particularly slow for companies with workers and executives on temporary visas, with no silver bullet solution in sight. Extreme wait times at embassies and consular offices mean those workers face a tough choice if their visa has expired: put off returning home or potentially find themselves stuck in their home country for months before they can travel back to the US. […] The delays for workers to enter the US impact costs for businesses as well as their reputation with customers, said Jon Baselice, vice president of immigration policy at the US Chamber of Commerce.”
  • The Chicago Sun Times published a commentary piece  by Julie Collins responding to the impact of immigration on labor shortages, specifically in the healthcare sector: “Nationwide, there will be 194,500 open positions for registered nurses each year, and the demand for nurses is expected to rise to 3.3 million overall in the next seven years[…] Nursing is a “Schedule A” occupation, meaning there is a documented shortage and immigrant nurses would not take jobs away from U.S. nurses. Immigrant nurses would provide a steady stream of qualified nurses to fill job vacancies. Hospitals could do this by supplementing moving costs and visa fees, as well as advertising that wages in the U.S. are high compared to most countries.”

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

As we mark the 10-year anniversary of the implementation of the DACA, it is clear that immigrants are and always will be essential parts of the American economy. Without a robust and fair legal immigrant system in place with limits tied to our economic and social realities, families remain separated, opportunity remains capped, and businesses across a wide variety of sectors suffer from labor shortages. Our economy remains 2 million immigrants below where we should be now that COVID and Donald Trump are no longer undermining our legal immigration system.

Every single day, the American people pay the price for Republican nativism and obstruction of legal immigration in the form of inflation, suppressed economic opportunity and decreased access to goods and services. 

All immigrants, from those documented and with deep roots in the United States, to newcomers seeking asylum or greater economic prosperity, are vital parts of the success of our economy and nation. The Republican Party cannot simultaneously claim to be the party of growth and economic opportunity while embracing nativism and white nationalism as their central governing philosophy and election strategy. The short- and long-term consequences of Republican lawmakers’ nativism jeopardizes the economic prospects for every American in a nation enriched and fortified by each new generation of immigrants, refugees and those who have sought and received asylum on our shores.”