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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chamber Calls for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, following Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, today urged Congress and the administration to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform during a forum at the U.S. Chamber.

“America’s current immigration system is hopelessly broken and fails employers and the
nation as a whole,� said Randel Johnson, Chamber vice president of labor, immigration & employee benefits. “In order to help sustain our economy and boost national security, America needs an efficient and predictable immigration system.�

The Chamber urged Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package that allows current undocumented workers to earn legal status and that will address potential worker shortfalls by providing a structured mechanism for employers to fill jobs when American workers are unavailable. The Chamber also urged lawmakers to adopt measures that work seamlessly to ensure U.S. national and economic security.

Earlier this year, the Chamber expressed its support for The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, (S. 1033; H.R. 2330) a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill which will improve security and border enforcement, increase employer sanctions for knowingly hiring illegal aliens and establish an employment eligibility confirmation system, create a new temporary worker program, and provide undocumented workers who are in the country and working at the time of the bill’s introduction a process to qualify for legal work status following security and background checks. These workers would not qualify to adjust to legal permanent residency status until at least six years as temporary workers, and then only if they meet future work requirements, clear additional security/background checks, pay substantial fines and application fees as well as back taxes, and meet English/civics requirements.

“Our immigration and visa policy must improve our nation’s security, address future labor shortages through a temporary worker program, and provide a reasonable mechanism for undocumented workers already here to qualify for legal status,� said Johnson. “We welcome the administration testimony today beginning to address these difficult issues and look forward to continuing to working with all parties for the enactment of legislation.�

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region. ... 05-164.htm