Lesser-Skilled Workers are an Essential Part of Immigration Reform

Improving border security is an essential part of immigration reform for the United States. Our current system incentivizes illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. while providing few opportunities for them to engage in the legal immigration system. As a matter of national security we need to know who is coming into our country and if they pose a threat. Creating a truly functional immigration program for lesser-skilled workers is the most effective way to achieve this important goal. We need to take away the incentive to come to and stay in the United States illegally and the best way to do that is to create a legal framework to manage it. By creating a legal system, we can be assured we know exactly who is here as well as allow temporary workers to return to their native country instead of being forced to live in the shadows for years on end. Under the current system, or lack of one, workers are incentivized to obtain false documents and unable to return home for fear that they will not be able to get back to in the US.

Today the Senate Homeland Security Committee held a hearing titled, “Securing the Border: Defining the Current Population Living in the Shadows and Addressing Future Flows.” The NAM commends Senator Johnson for holding the hearing and addressing the serious problems associated with a broken immigration system. Building walls alone will not provide sufficient security for our nation.  We must have a system that allows workers to come to the US to work legally and allows employers to be secure that they are hiring legal workers.

The system is broken, that we all can agree upon. Congress should act to create a functional immigration system that provides security for employers, immigrants and US workers – an essential facet of which is actively addressing the future-flow of lesser-skilled immigrant workers.

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