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Why a Modern Immigration Policy is Good for Economy and the Country

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Meanwhile, the GOP Puts Anti-Immigrant Politics Ahead of the American Economy

Washington, DC – As we’ve been highlighting in recent weeks, getting our economy right means getting immigration policy right. Today, we hear from more voices from across the political spectrum underscoring why immigration is part of the solution to our current worker shortage, inflationary pressures, and America’s long-term competitiveness. 

  • Washington Post editorial, The U.S. Needs More Immigrants and More Babiesnotes, “For decades, the United States has remained dynamic and prosperous, even as other major industrialized societies have stagnated. One major reason has been relatively high population growth, which reflects both the nation’s birthrate and how attractive the country is to immigrants. But the Census Bureau has reported that this engine of prosperity is sputtering out … complacency, social problems and reactionary politics still threaten the nation’s long-term prospects.”
  • Wall Street Journal editorial, The U.S. Legal Immigration Shortagenotes, “Immigration restrictionists say employers could attract more American workers if they raised wages, but they need to get out of their think tanks and talk to employers … [Americans] pay for the worker shortfall through supply shortages and higher prices. Wonder why hotels no longer change sheets daily? They can’t find enough workers, domestic or foreign.”
  • “Allowing immigrants into the U.S. might solve some of our labor shortages,” an op-ed by Joan Quigley, former assemblywoman from Jersey City, NJ, in the Jersey Journal: “For generations America relied on … immigrants, not only fleeing persecutions of various sorts, but also hoping to find a job here. Any kind of job. A job with hard labor, yes, but also with enough pay for lodging and basic food. Maybe for training school to learn a skill leading to a better job and better living conditions. Today millions of Americans are quitting their jobs, retiring early, refusing to work at anything they don’t absolutely love or doesn’t pay as much as they’d like. As a result, restaurants and groceries are closing, deliveries are delayed, mail goes undelivered, and everybody grumbles about shortages.” 
  • AP, “Strained US hospitals seek foreign nurses amid visa windfall,” noting, “With American hospitals facing a dire shortage of nurses amid a slogging pandemic, many are looking abroad for health care workers … The Biden administration, which has made moves to reverse Trump-era policies restricting legal immigration, has taken some steps to try to help foreign health care workers so they can assist with the pandemic.”
  • Immigration reform urgently needed to help meet rural health needs,” an op-ed by Lori Dwyer, president and CEO of Penobscot Community Healthcare, the largest federally qualified health center in Maine, in Sun Journal: “[M]any health care providers in Maine are cutting back because they cannot find workers. Rural areas have been hit the hardest by the shortage of health care professionals. This is not a new problem in Maine, but the pandemic has made it much worse. There is a potential solution: hardworking and talented immigrants live in our communities and are already making crucial contributions. Allowing these Mainers, many of whom have spent most of their lives here, to earn citizenship could help us move out of the labor crisis.”
  • InImmigration reform can help labor shortages – and build stronger communities,” an op-ed for the Indianapolis Star, Pastor Jeff Schultz of Faith Church on the north side of Indianapolis, notes: “[T]he agricultural industry that is vital to Indiana’s economy is facing a labor crisis as well. We even feel it in the church, as petitions to bring in foreign-born pastors or other religious workers – vital in ministries to non-English speakers – are stuck in bureaucratic backlogs. Restrictions to lawful immigration avenues (many a result of COVID-19, some that pre-existed the pandemic) have meant that roughly 2 million fewer immigrants have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. than there would have been had pre-pandemic trends continued. That’s enough to fill a good share of the 10.6 million job openings in the country.”
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) stands up for farm workers and takes on Swanson frozen foods heir Tucker Carlson and nativism: Rep. Gallego took on one of the leading purveyors of nativism, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, tweeting: “What would  happen if Latino farmworkers stopped harvesting our food and slaughtering meat? People like Tucker would starve. He is so soft, he wouldn’t survive one week farming on his own. Also Latinos wouldn’t do that because they are patriots.”

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

America needs a modern immigration policy that welcomes new immigrants and legalizes undocumented workers. In their own voices, editorial pages and commentators on the left and the right acknowledge that more immigration helps our economy hum and our country thrive. It’s lamentable that Republicans continue to put nativism and ugly anti-immigrant politics ahead of America’s interests and economic prosperity. From higher food prices and inflation to supply chain disruptions and shortages, Americans are paying a price for nativism’s increasingly tight grip on the Republican Party and far-right politics. To get our economy right, we need to get immigration right.