AILA: Hearing Should Focus on Important Workforce Needs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 16, 2015

CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras
202-507-7649
gtzamaras@aila.org
Belle Woods
202-507-7675
bwoods@aila.org

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) hopes that the Senate Judiciary committee takes the opportunity tomorrow to use its hearing titled, "Immigration Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers" to examine our nation's legitimate skilled-worker needs in a balanced and thoughtful way. Unfortunately, preliminary signs are that the hearing may be a misguided attack on the highly skilled foreign labor that American businesses require.

"One myth that might again be resurrected by detractors of nonimmigrant work visas during this hearing is that 'there are too many foreign workers in our workforce,' but the reality is that work visas, like the H-1B, in fact complement and enhance the American workforce," said Leslie Holman, AILA President. She continued, "The need for these workers is certain to be dramatically highlighted in two weeks when the limited number of new H-1B visas available yearly in October are claimed within the first week of April. As in previous years, we fully expect that there will be many more visa applications than visas available, so just as in past years, a lottery will be held to determine which petitions received will be considered. All others will be rejected without review, and I always wonder, what unmet needs are left in the hopper? Which American businesses won't have the staff they need to grow?

"It has been evident for years that our immigration system is badly in need of reform. Immigration laws are complex and interconnected, so reforms need to be approached in as expansive manner as possible. A common-sense approach to business visa reforms would make sure they remain available for legitimate employer needs in order to keep up with our dynamic economy, instead of pinning the visa numbers to a static cap that was determined by Congress two decades ago. The world has changed, just a bit, in the last twenty years, and it is past time that the H-1B visa system does the same," Ms. Holman concluded.

One approach that AILA strongly supports is outlined in the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (S. 153) originally cosponsored by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Klobuchar (D-MN), Rubio (R-FL), Coons (D-DE), Flake (R-AZ), and Blumenthal (D-CT). The Immigration Innovation Act ("I-Squared" Act) provides long overdue and much-needed reforms in the business immigration context.

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15031664.