Today NAM’s Vice President of Human Resources Policy took part in a panel discussion sponsored by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The room was filled with interested, energetic people eager to learn more about the recent activity surrounding comprehensive reform thus far and ways to further the efforts.
Mr. Trauger laid out the NAM’s platform very clearly – the current immigration system is broken and is a roadblock for manufacturers who need access to a skilled and available workforce. American manufacturers are competing globally and need access to the best, brightest and hardest working people they can find. A few years ago, a study by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group of business and civic leaders, found that over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were either started by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. Manufacturers are well represented in this group. American manufacturing enterprises founded by immigrants span all sectors, from technology, to steel, to chemicals, to medical devices and many others.
Immigration reform must be comprehensive and not piecemeal. Mr. Trauger correctly noted that immigration policy is intertwined and if one section remains broken, the system will not work well. A bipartisan, thoughtful solution must be found to deal with the millions of undocumented workers already in the U.S. His thoughts were echoed by the other panelists.
The NAM is committed to working with LULAC, Members of Congress, and our President to enact comprehensive immigration reform that includes a clear and reasonable pathway to legal status or citizenship. Whether it is politically popular or not, many of the undocumented or falsely documented were born here and many others have lived here for years. For any immigration reform measure to be successful, it needs to address this issue in a forthright manner.
As the debate over comprehensive immigration reform heats up, we can expect this to become a divisive issue. But what won’t change is the need for reform and as Mr. Trauger confirmed to the LULAC panel and the audience, comprehensive reform is a top priority for the NAM and we will do all we can to see it become a reality.