Employers are facing a barrage of efforts at the state and local levels to enact new mandates. A seemingly endless onslaught of everything from paid leave initiatives to minimum wage increases are keeping state and local chambers and the businesses they represent on their toesaccording to panelists at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum on state and local workplace issues, cosponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has begun the task of marking up the comprehensive immigration legislation. As committee members vote on amendments to the bill, it’s a good time to remind them and the public that reform would boost the economy. Two studies released over the last few days support this.
Immigration reform is one of the compelling challenges of our time. If we rise to that challenge, we can ensure that our great country can compete and win in the global race for talent. We can secure the lives and livelihoods of all Americans. And we can reaffirm our proud and honorable legacy as an open and welcoming society.
Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), the two lead negotiators in the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration reform group, said that they believe their immigration reform bill will not just have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate—but majority support from both parties and the president.
In the wee hours of the morning, the bipartisan Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill was formally introduced. You can read our coverage of the legislation here.
I spoke to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a member of the Gang of Eight that negotiated the bill, and he told me, "we would not have had a bill without the Chamber of Commerce. They were an indispensable partner in crafting the bill."
In discussions to bring about much-needed comprehensive immigration reform, hard compromises are necessary, but important principles have to be heeded. We think both were key to the ongoing Labor-Business negotiations regarding visas for the lesser-skilled occupations.
HR departments of many American companies have little time to laugh at April Fools’ Day jokes, because today, the federal government begins accepting H-1B visa petitions from employers for high-skilled immigrant workers.
The United States is often thought of the land of opportunity. But it can quickly become a land of missed opportunities if you’re an immigrant entrepreneur looking to create jobs and companies here in the U.S.
Immigrant entrepreneurs established 18% of all Fortune 500 companies, which combined have generated $1.7 trillion in annual revenue and currently employ 3.7 million workers worldwide, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy.
The head of immigration policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says he is hopeful that comprehensive immigration reform would get done this session. “This is my third time around on this issue, and there’s a better sense that we need to get this done and get past using it as a political football,” Randy Johnson told a group of reporters on March 15.
The head of immigration policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offered conditional support for expansion of the Internet-based system that tracks the legal status of potential employees.
As one of America’s largest exporters and the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment and diesel and natural gas engines and turbines, Caterpillar is keenly aware of the importance of having the right person in the right job—no matter where the person comes from.
“Caterpillar needs to be able to recruit from among the world’s best talent to maintain economic and technological advantages over global competitors,” says Kim Hauer, Caterpillar’s vice president of Global Human Resources.
Tom Donohue, U.S.
Today, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, and I issued the following joint statement, along with principles (written underneath the statement) for a lesser-skilled worker visa program:
As immigration policy takes center stage on Capitol Hill this year, the U.S. Chamber is championing immigration reforms that adopt stronger enforcement, market-based improvements to temporary worker programs, and a commonsense solution to the problem of the undocumented.
The national conversation about comprehensive immigration reform continues.
Bill Gates talked to CNNMoney about keeping high-skilled talent in the United States. For example, our immigration system discourages American companies from hiring foreign students who earn graduate degrees in the U.S.
When it comes to immigration, people are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. And the facts are crystal clear: Our current system is broken. It’s not serving the interests of our economy, our businesses, or our society.
Leaders from industries representing “Bibles, badges and business” are working together to forge a new consensus on immigration reform.
The U.S. Chamber’s Tom Donohue joined other business, faith, and law enforcement leaders at a press conference to urge Congress to work together and pass broad immigration reform in 2013. The January 17 event was hosted by the National Immigration Forum and held at the National Press Club.
At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we begin the New Year by looking at how American business is doing, discussing the key challenges facing our economy, and identifying the top priorities we plan to work on.
Despite some improvement in business conditions in 2012, the U.S. economy is simply not growing fast enough to create jobs, lift incomes, expand opportunities, or contribute significantly to government revenues in order to reduce trillion dollar deficits, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue told a packed audience during his annual State of American Business address.
When editors of Life magazine ranked Thomas Edison first on the list of “the most important people of the last 1000 years,” they were recognizing the importance of innovation to improving the material condition of mankind.
The House of Representatives passed the STEM Jobs Act that would increase the number of green cards available for foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities with graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Yesterday, Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the U.S.
This week various voices have been heard suggesting that the STEM Jobs Act, H.R. 6429, hurts American workers and students and should not be considered. Some also say they don’t want to consider anything other than a comprehensive immigration reform package, and others believe even this bill is over-broad.
My how an election can change things.
Yes, I said “change” even though the President was reelected and neither the House nor the Senate switched parties.
The man behind the iconic “You’ve Got Mail” reminder says he knows the “secret sauce” that built the American economy. “Entrepreneurship is the reason that America has leading companies that employ tens of thousands of people, and we need to support and encourage these companies,” says Steve Case, co-founder and former chief executive officer of AOL, co-founder and CEO of investment firm Revolution, and chairman of the Startup America Partnership.
Alexandra Starr at the New America Foundation wrote a report about Latino immigrant entrepreneurs for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). These risk-takers face many of the same problems as other entrepreneurs: difficulty accessing capital; troubles with regulations; taxes; a sluggish economy. They also face a work visa burden that immigrant groups like those from South and East Asia and elsewhere experience.
Fresh off the political conventions, where they test drove their campaign stump speeches before partisan audiences, members of the House and Senate returned to Washington on September 10 to ostensibly address pressing national issues. Don’t hold your breath.
Congress hasn’t created even a pretense of industriousness, scheduling a total of just 29 work days from September through December.
The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki answered a question I had while watching the Olympics: How many athletes competing for other countries athletes train in the U.S.?
The Kauffman Foundation has compiled a good video of immigrant entrepreneurs, in their own words, explaining the difficulties they’ve had in staying in the United States, and how we benefit from allowing them to stay here and add to our economy. For more stories, look at a recent report from the U.S.
A Partnership for a New American Economy study finds that foreign-born scientists and engineers are doing a lot to help the U.S. innovate and stay globally competitive.
Copyright 2012 Bloomberg.
By Greg Stohr
The U.S. Supreme Court said the core of Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants can take effect for now, while invalidating other parts of the first-of-its-kind law.
The legislative theme heading into the November election is congressional inaction, according to U.S. Chamber experts in transportation, education, and labor and immigration policies told attendees of America’s Small Business Summit 2012.
The startup world has been clamoring for ways to make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the U.S., but so far, Congress has failed to do its part.
But now some entrepreneurs are taking matters into their own hands. Nearly 140 start-up companies are vying to get onboard Blueseed, the world’s first floating incubator.
Our cover story this month focuses on the importance of trade to economic growth. When discussing trade, we can’t overlook one of our most valuable exports: foreign visitors to the United States. When foreign visitors spend their money here, it’s counted as an export. What’s more, travel is integral to conducting international business and facilitating trade. We should promote the United States as a premier destination and draw business and leisure travelers to our shores.
Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined forces with several employers in the landscaping and seafood processing industries to bring a legal challenge to a recent Department of Labor (DOL) regulation that radically alters the H-2B visa program that businesses use to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.
To bring more international travelers to the United States “we need to put the welcome mat back out,” and reduce the “hassle factor” of visiting the United States without compromising security, according to U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue.
Not surprisingly, there are not a lot of electronics engineers with experience in the radiation detection industry in the small West Texas community of Sweetwater. So when a Mexican engineer who had an undergraduate engineering degree and a graduate business degree from the University of Texas accepted an offer of employment from Ludlum Measurements, Inc., Vice President Mick Truitt was thrilled.
Mei Xu, half of the husband and wife team that founded Pacific Trade International, created a thriving business that includes the popular brand Chesapeake Bay Candle. Based in Rockville, Maryland, the company has enjoyed growth since it was founded in 1994 and, as Xu discusses in the video above, is looking to hire more employees now.
March 5 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the nation’s policy for issuing visas is hurting the economy by limiting tourism and blocking overseas buyers of American products from coming to the U.S. for training.
Immigrant entrepreneur Mei Xu remembers when she first landed at the Dallas airport after fleeing her home country of China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square uprisings.
We are a nation of immigrants bound together by the unique American ideals of individual freedom and responsibility and driven by the limitless opportunities of free enterprise. These powerful draws of freedom and opportunity have brought the world’s best and brightest to our shores for generations. Immigrants helped lay the economic foundation of our country, and they can play an equally important role in our future.
Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, talked to Fox Business Channel about keeping immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S. to create jobs.
Johnson said these immigrants come here and "they work hard, and they start new businesses."
He referred to stories covering the depth and breadth of immigrant entrepreneurs contained in a report released by the U.S. Chamber and the Immigration Policy Center (IPC).
Casual observers of the State of the Union Address may have noticed an unfamiliar face in the First Lady's box: Mike Krieger, an immigrant entrepreneur who co-founded Instagram, the fastest growing social mobile startup in the U.S. today.
Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs and strengthen the economy, and the United States should tailor immigration laws and policies to encourage the best and the brightest to create businesses on U.S. soil, according to a new joint report issued by the U.S. Chamber and the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) of the American Immigration Council.
A few weeks ago, John Miano of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) wrote an op-ed on H-1B visas that paints a misleading picture of reality. Miano ignores a few critical facts.
First, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) describes every job in America in 22 broad occupational categories. For example, the BLS classification on “science” includes social sciences, for which employers utilize the H-1B category rarely.
With America facing a still sluggish economy and great uncertainty, Washington lawmakers must not take the election year off but, rather, get busy working with business to achieve everyone’s highest priority—putting Americans back to work, said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue during his annual State of American Business address.
Recently confirmed U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson gave his first major policy speech at the U.S. Chamber on December 15. Rolling out his agency’s motto, “Build It Here, Sell It Everywhere,” Bryson, the former CEO of California utility Edison International for 18 years, said that his agency’s top priorities are to support advanced manufacturing, increase U.S. exports, and attract foreign direct investment to the United States.
The Chamber welcomes immigration reforms that would make it easier for high-skilled foreign entrepreneurs to stay and innovate here in the U.S.. America is hard-pressed for jobs, and the more business development there is on the ground, the more job creation we can expect. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Alejandro Mayorkas has also come out in support of revisiting immigration policy in favor of foreign entrepreneurs with excellent job creating potential.
Yesterday Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced a bipartisan jobs package.
The Chamber shares the goal of Sens. Rubio and Coons to identify and package provisions in a single bill that would promote job creation. Enacting policies aimed at growing the private sector must be the central focus and the most immediate legislative priority for the Congress.
A vibrant economy is like your favorite pop band--say Coldplay. Some members are classmates, deeply familiar with one another, while others come from outside the tight circle offering certain talents. Initially they may have been strangers, but they melded their skills together to create something that can be embraced by millions.
On Wednesday, the Chamber hosted Partnership for a New American Economy Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for an event to discuss the need for sensible immigration reform for high-skilled workers.
Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue and the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Alejandro Mayorkas kicked off the event with remarks on the importance of immigration reform.
U.S. immigration policies that turn away foreign high-skilled workers constitute “national suicide,” and reforming those laws would unleash a torrent of innovation, growth, and job creation, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during an immigration reform event at the U.S. Chamber.
Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum to highlight the importance of high-skilled immigration reform to U.S. businesses and to our nation’s ability to innovate and compete in the global marketplace.
That was the overarching question posed to a panel of labor experts at the National Journal’s “Making America Competitive in the Global Economy Summit” this morning. Randy Johnson, U.S.
The 112th Congress has struggled to advance balanced legislation to make mandatory and permanent the temporary employee electronic verification system, or E-Verify … until now.
The Legal Workforce Act, which was marked up this morning in the House Judiciary Committee, would go a long way toward ensuring that newly hired employees are in the country legally without placing undue burdens on employers.
The bill meets the following criteria laid out by the Chamber’s E-Verify Taskforce:
American industries are on the hunt to find talent with backgrounds in math, science, and engineering. Sens.
The nearly 2,000-mile-long border separating the United States and Mexico is one of the most frequently crossed and perhaps most economically significant international borders in the world. Every day, more than $1 billion worth of goods—much of it produced by U.S. small businesses and farmers—cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Increased trade resulting from NAFTA has added 1.7 million jobs to the U.S. economy.
The United States and Mexico share a border of nearly 2,000 miles, a cultural heritage, and a desire to grow both our economies through cooperation and hard work. The two nations also share an obligation to address a series of complex border issues. While immigration and drug-related violence receive the most attention, economic considerations such as trade facilitation, travel, and infrastructure are equally important.
Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the public policy law firm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, issued the following statement regarding today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting:
by Blair Latoff
During his January 25 State of the Union address, President Obama offered a number of proposals designed to jumpstart the sluggish economy, create more U.S. jobs, and sharpen U.S. competitiveness. Below are the key proposals and the Chamber’s reaction.
Ross Eisenbrey’s recent blog post included several misconceptions about the H-2B program that may be responsible for his erroneous conclusions about the H-2B program and U.S. Chamber's position on immigration.
In recent years, states and municipalities have proposed thousands of overlapping and conflicting state and local immigration laws, many of them imposing new and often contradictory regulations on employers.
Contrary to critic's claims, America's H-2B visa program, designed for temporary, mostly non-agricultural jobs, does not take away jobs from Americans or depress wages of U.S. workers in similar occupations, according to a new report released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of small business owners advocating immigration reform.
Generating more startups is the answer to our nation’s unemployment problems, but U.S. immigration, tax and regulatory policies are limiting start-up financing options and inhibiting the growth of entrepreneurship, according to experts who spoke at an event sponsored by the Campaign for Free Enterprise and the U.S. Chamber’s public policy think tank, the National Chamber Foundation.
A market-based cap on H-1B visas and a streamlined green card sponsorship program for highly educated professionals are among the employment-based immigration policy recommendations in a study by the U.S. Chamber’s Labor, Immigration & Employee Benefits division and the American Council on International Personnel (ACIP).
Last Friday, in the New York Times, Edmund Phelps took a look a look at the notion that a lack of demand is the only thing holding back the economy:
The worst effect of focusing on supposedly deficient demand is that it lulls us into failing to “think structural” in dealing with long-term problems. To achieve a full recovery, we have to understand the framework on which our broad prosperity has always been based.
The U.S. Chamber applauded President Obama and the Supreme Court this week for focusing their attention on the importance of fixing the nation’s broken immigration system. The Chamber stands ready to work with the administration and Congress to achieve this important goal.
Today, in the Washington Post, Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham present a blueprint for immigration reform.
The Chamber continues to support President Obama’s and Senators Schumer and Graham’s attempt to find a bipartisan solution to our broken immigration system. At the same time, the Chamber is disappointed at the AFL-CIO’s effective rejection yesterday, by press release no less, of their courageous attempt to find common ground.
The new report by Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda on "The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform" released jointly by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center is very timely and instructive. The Chamber supports comprehensive immigration reform for some of the same economic reasons outlined in the report—it generates an annual increase in U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
A good piece from MIT President Susan Hockfield in the Wall Street Journal. The beginning and the end:
Despite legal pressure from the U.S. Chamber and other trade groups, a federal court has given the go ahead to a new Department of Homeland Security rule requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to electronically verify the legal status of their employees.
Congress should reject proposed legislation that would place undue burdens on employers that legitimately use the H-1B and L-1 visa programs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In an August 21 letter to the bill sponsors, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Chamber cautioned that the bill would institute new H-1B visa restrictions based on an employer's make-up and size.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC) is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up its case challenging the constitutionality of the employment provisions of a controversial Arizona immigration law. The case is Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. Candelaria, et al.
Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue joins House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel to urge the complete lifting of the Cuba embargo at a briefing on May 5, 2009.
The administration is taking some flack over the president's new science adviser characterizing global warming as so severe a problem we should consider geoengineering the climate – perhaps shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. “It's got to be looked at," said John Holdren. "We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table … [global warming is like being] in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."
BusinessWeek on "Why Skilled Immigrants Are Leaving the U.S." and how it impacts our future:
In the Washington Post today founder and chief executive of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman encourages President Obama to "Let Our Start-Ups Bail Us Out"
In an encouraging sign for the business community, two onerous workplace regulations that would have made it more difficult for employers to hire new workers and keep existing ones have been put on hold.
Facing legal pressure from the U.S. Chamber and other trade groups, the federal government has pushed back a deadline by which federal contractors must comply with mandatory electronic verification of their employees. The E-Verify implementation date was delayed until May 21, 2009, to give the new administration time to review the rule.
Randy Johnson's recent post on E-Verify has generated many comments with a few common themes. Two of them are ongoing -- all immigration is bad, any solution is good -- and one is a continuation of the idea of isolationism as a mechanism for economic recovery. In all three, to paraphrase a song on my IPod -- their ideas hold no water, but they use them like a dam.
Tim Geithner's comprehensive plan to revive financial markets bombed on Wall Street, Capitol Hill, and among industry experts. His proposals were described as vague, incomplete, and lacking details. Observers said the administration's plan is neither well-funded enough to recapitalize troubled banks, nor detailed enough to assure investors that the government can solve the toxic asset problem plaguing banks.
From the press release:
The federal government agreed to a request by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to postpone the implementation of E-Verify until May 21, 2009 at the earliest. This is the second time the federal government has agreed to delay implementation of the rule.
Facing legal pressure from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups, the federal government again pushed back a deadline by which federal contractors must comply with mandatory electronic verification of their employees. The E-Verify implementation date was delayed until May 21, 2009, to give the new administration time to review the rule. Earlier this month, the federal government agreed to the Chamber's request to delay a January 15, 2009, implementation date until February 20, 2009, in order to accommodate the Chamber's lawsuit challenging the rule.
Told in vivid build-a-story:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is suing the federal government to stop its expansion of a program that seeks to verify whether employees are legally allowed to work in the country. (The Hill - Briefing Room)
The Patchwork of State Immigration Laws Is Creating a Bigger Immigration Problem.
As reported: "A coalition of business groups is asking a U.S. appeals court to prevent an Oklahoma anti-illegal immigration law from being enforced."
Business organizations, civil rights groups, and labor interests have signed on to support the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in its case against employment provisions in Oklahoma's new immigration law.
Twenty-eight different organizations filed amicus briefs in support of the Chamber in its ongoing case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The organizations include the American Civil Liberties Union, Change to Win, various civil rights groups, business groups, and thirteen chambers of commerce.
America is a nation of immigrants and our ability to attract the best workers and those with the spirit of enterprise has always been one of our strongest competitive advantages. It wasn’t all of the tired, poor, huddled masses who came to our shores; it was those who truly yearned to breathe free, and were willing to work for that freedom.
Congress may be in the middle of a month-long recess, many Washingtonians may have fled the sweltering weather for friendlier climes, and the town may have slowed to a crawl, but nothing can stop the inexorable march of the nation’s massive regulatory system
I was going to write a post on the most recent confusion surrounding E-Verify, but then realized that I couldn't say it any better than my boss, Randy Johnson, did yesterday in a letter to Stewart Baker, Assistant Secretary for Policy, at the Department of Homeland Security. Here is the letter:
Dear Assistant Secretary Baker:
From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog "In Canada, Doctors Use Lottery to Drop Patients"
Canada’s medical system is radically different from ours, but there’s at least one thing we have in common: a shortage of primary care doctors.
Due in part to aggressive lobbying by the U.S. Chamber, the House on July 31 voted to extend the federal government's voluntary electronic employment system, E-Verify, for 5 years instead of 10 years.
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows yesterday reassuring the public that the banking system is sound, but to expect further difficulties ahead. Paulson said it's going to take months to work through this tough period. He also reminded the public that no one has lost a single penny on an insured deposit in the 75 years that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has operated.
After an early morning rally based on the government’s backing of Fannie and Freddie, stocks turned lower on concerns over lenders’ earnings and the capacity for the feds to help them. The Dow was down 45 points. One senior equities trader said: "We're trading purely on emotion right now. There is rife speculation on where we are fundamentally, but the truth is no one knows."
Today immigration is covered in Dear 44, our effort with the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Politico to highlight the challenges - and possible solutions - faced by our next President. Randy Johnson, U.S. Chamber Vice President responsible for labor, employee benefits, education, and immigration issues nailed the need for comprehensive immigration reform:
The New York Times had a major article yesterday on how the business community is aggressively pushing back against restrictive state and local immigration laws in state legislatures, the federal courts, and city halls. The piece says business groups have resisted measures that would revoke the licenses of employers of illegal immigrants.
The U.S. Chamber won a victory on June 4 in its case challenging an Oklahoma immigration law when a U.S. District Court judge postponed portions of the law's enforcement and deemed them "substantially likely" to be unconstitutional.
The National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC) is battling piecemeal state immigration laws that the group says violate the federal government's jurisdiction over immigration.
Threat of Revoked License Sparks Discrimination
Mitchell C. Laird, Esq.
President, MCL Enterprises, Inc.
Under a new Arizona law, all employers in the state, regardless of size, must use the federal government's voluntary E-Verify, or Basic Pilot, program to validate the legal status of employees hired after December 31, 2007.
It’s been a year since a hard fought, bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform plan collapsed in the U.S. Senate among much rancor and finger-pointing. The emotionally charged debate rifted the nation, dividing communities and citizens and bringing protestors of all viewpoints out into the streets.
The subtitle of my book, "Let Them In," is the "The Case for Open Borders." And the case for open borders is the case for letting the free market decide how much foreign labor we need in this country. Right now that determination is made, by and large, by politicians and public policy makers setting arbitrary immigration quotas. And like most exercises in central planning, it's been a disaster. It's left us with thriving markets in human smuggling and document fraud. It's left us with dead bodies strewn across the Arizona desert.
Here are a few quick updates on developments in the Chamber’s key issues areas, with two stories on immigration:
The SEIU is calling on people to attend rallies on July 17 in 100 cities in 25 countries to protest tactics used by private equity firms. The union argues that buyout executives like David Rubenstein of Carlyle and Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis have gamed the tax code, reaping huge gains by piling debt on companies their firms have acquired, only to deduct the interest from their corporate taxes.
The current immigration system of "arbitrary quotas" on visas has been a "disaster," and is hurting U.S. competitiveness at home and abroad, according to Jason Riley, the author of the book, "Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders." A free market system driven by the law of supply and demand would do a better job of addressing U.S. immigration needs than lawmakers and policy experts have, Riley said.
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Oil prices fell sharply yesterday -- $4.41 a barrel -- after the government said a decline in crude supply was due to temporary import issues, and a sign of a stronger U.S. economy that could shore up the weak dollar.
First up, housing from the Washington Post:
Yesterday, Mitchell Laird, President of MCL Enterprises, had the privilege of testifying before the House Subcommittee on Social Security of the Committee on Ways and Means at a hearing regarding "Employment Eligibility Verification Systems (EEVS) and the Potential Impacts on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Ability to Serve Retirees, People with Disabilities, and Workers". On behalf of his company and the U.S. Chamber, Mr.
Arizona's new worksite enforcement law is placing unmanageable financial and administrative burdens on employers, employees, federal agencies, and local law enforcement, Mitchell C. Laird, president of MCL Enterprises Inc. in Arizona told members of Congress on May 6.
Chamber Member Faces Seasonal Labor Shortage
Mike Loukonen of Loukonen Brothers Stone did not get the seasonal workers he needed to quarry stone.
The Chamber’s Director of Immigration Angelo Amador was on Capitol Hill this morning testifying about the economic importance of efficient, secure border management.
Last week the Chamber submitted public comments to the Homeland Security Department regarding employers who receive a no-match letter. Included in the comments were the results of two studies which show the large and negative impact on employers and legal workers. Below is a brief summary of our comments and the studies.
The Wall street Journal reports that Congress is poised to clear landmark legislation barring insurers and employers from discriminating based on a person's genetic makeup, a move many employers dislike. The Senate voted for the bill 95-0 yesterday, the House is expected to clear it next week, and Bush says he will sign it.
It’s primary day in Pennsylvania. The Drudge Report claimed yesterday that there was jubilation in the Clinton camp after their internal polling showed their candidate with an 11-point lead. The Clinton campaign denied that report and said it is expecting a close race. A poll of polls shows Clinton with a 5-6 point lead. A win by any margin will be enough to send Hillary on to Indiana and North Carolina, which hold their primaries May 6.
Secretary Chertoff had some harsh words for business over the weekend which I would like to address.
The law that creates and governs the Department of Homeland Security is clear in including as "the primary mission of the Department … ensur[ing] that the overall economic security of the United States is not diminished by efforts, activities, and programs aimed at securing the homeland."
We have had two posts recently on the H-1B visa program, Arbitrary Visa Limits Fail Companies and Workers and It’s Workers, Not Wages. On Monday, April 7th, Chamber member Ray Pinard - President and CEO of 48Hourprint.com - was in the building after meeting with President Bush; he shared with us his thoughts on the importance of the H-1B program.
As expected, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that the number of applications for next fiscal year's high-skill temporary worker visas (H-1Bs) exceeds the number of visas available under arbitrarily set caps.
There were no major surprises or fireworks during Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker’s testimony yesterday. As expected, Petraeus cited "fragile and reversible" gains in security in Iraq, while Crocker said there has also been political progress, but not as much as he would like. Petraeus said that once troop levels reach pre-surge levels this summer, there should be a 45-day review period before any further troop reductions.
The H-1B visa is appropriately used by employers to recruit highly skilled workers when U.S. workers are not available. Numerous studies have shown that the H-1B visa workers are paid wages equal to those of American workers and do not depress the wages of U.S. workers.
The New York Times had a major story yesterday examining the split between the Bush administration and congressional Democrats over how to strengthen oversight of financial institutions. Both seem to agree that the current system is a tangled web of federal and state regulators, which failed to deal with new financial players and innovations.
I was forwarded the below piece, which was sent out Monday by Keith Hennessey, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director, National Economic Council. It is a good summary of the "Celtic Tiger" turnaround in Ireland, and some lessons the U.S. could learn. Mr. Hennessey was kind enough to let me post it.
- Arizona and Colorado Consider Guest-Worker Programs - GO AWAY! no wait. COME BACK!
- The Erosion of Individual Responsibility - No, no, it was the predatory creditors, it wasn't me
- It’s My Way or No Highway - or the erosion of congressional responsibility
U.S. visa programs are in dire need of reform, yet Congress has failed to act. The H-1B visa program for highly skilled workers has an outdated cap that has been hit nine times, and will probably continue to be hit for the foreseeable future. There are also significant delays and backlogs for people who are waiting in line to get their employment based green card, often leaving them in limbo for years while their petitions slowly move through the process. Last week, the National Foundation for American Policy released two studies which reveal how allowing U.S.
My little "on this date" calendar tells me that on March 14, 1950 the FBI began releasing their "10 Most Want Fugitives" list; which is online now.
To commemorate this little bit of public relations, here is Chamber's "10 Most Wanted" as of today, in no particular order.
After 25 years in the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was voted House Majority Leader after the Democrats won control in the November 2006 elections. Sheryll Poe, uschamber.com staff writer, sat down with the majority leader to discuss the Democrats' progress so far and the business agenda ahead.
uschamber.com: How would you summarize the Democrats' first session in terms of small business?
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed to press on in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination after critical primary tests conclude in Ohio and Texas today even as advisers to Sen. Barack Obama said the latest round of voting would do little to improve her standing in a race in which she has been dealt setback after setback. Clinton advisers claimed fresh signs of momentum and continued to attempt to raise doubts about Obama on Monday, questioning his trade policies and ties to a Chicago developer. Clinton predicted victory and insisted that a comeback is on the horizon.
Costly Health Plan Nixed-The Senate Health Committee voted down Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) $15 billion plan requiring almost all Californians to hold private health insurance. The plan would have forced insurers to accept nearly all applicants and employers to contribute toward their workers' health benefits or pay into a state fund.
Source: Los Angeles Times
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is starting to resemble that old song “Something’s Gotta Give” – the irresistible force (Obama) meeting the immovable object (Clinton). Clinton appears to have decided to contest the Wisconsin primary next week, making a decent sized ad buy and spending a few days campaigning there. Her campaign staff are said be to be nervous going into the March 4 primaries in Texas and Oklahoma after having lost what would be 10 straight contests.
Economic Growth In Mexico Said To Be Slowing Illegal Migration To US - No doubt the best way to resolve the immigration issue is to have strong economies and stable societies on both sides of the border.
Those of you who have followed the immigration debate are keenly aware of the extreme emotions that it can elicit. The Chamber comes at the issue in a practical manner, advocating a position that provides for our nation’s security and at the same time is realistic in terms of the labor needs of American business.
The H-2B visa is used for bringing in temporary workers for a seasonal or peak load need — only after an employer is unable to find a U.S. worker to fill the job. These workers return to their home countries after working in the U.S. for a few months. Many small and seasonal businesses are simply going to be out of luck this year if Congress does not pass an extension soon on a key provision that permits H-2B workers who have worked under this program for at least one of the last three years to not count towards the outdated cap of 66,000, which has already been hit for 2008.
Drew Ruble has a very good Editor's letter in the February issue of "Business Tennessee" Drew writes:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has joined with Oklahoma chambers and business associations to sue the state over its immigration law. The Chamber's National Litigation Center and co-plaintiffs filed for an injunction in U.S. District Court on February 1.
Immigration, Unionization Cases Head to Court
State immigration laws that impose severe penalties on businesses, a state law that prohibits businesses from talking to their employees about unionizing, and employment litigation are among the issues that the National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the Chamber's public policy law firm, is challenging in court.
The U.S. Chamber is urging Congress to extend the H-2B returning worker program and help small businesses that rely on these workers to supplement their U.S. workforce. The returning worker program exempts temporary seasonal workers who have participated in the H-2B visa program during the previous three fiscal years from counting toward the 66,000 visa cap.
Globalization — however one defines it — is becoming a favorite scapegoat among politicians, pundits, and the American people for the current economic slowdown. That globalization is unpopular is nothing new. A dynamic, rapidly changing, globally integrated economy — where some jobs disappear as many thousands more are created — causes anxiety, even among those who say their financial condition is good.
- Tom Donohue's Friday Interview on Bloomberg TV
- Employee Free Choice Act Would Disenfranchise 105 Million Workers
- "I think comprehensive immigration reform in 2008 is going to be very hard to come by" - Pelosi and Reid on Immigration
In addition to our education and workforce training priorities our nation must also enact a balanced, commonsense, and comprehensive immigration plan that secures our borders and provides the workers we need to compete and win in the global marketplace.
In the absence of such a plan, states and localities are filling the void with hundreds of their own rules and regulations--often contradictory, illegal, and impossible for businesses to follow. The Chamber will continue to oppose these measures.
A recent study paid for by one of the defendant’s in a federal court case challenging that Arizona’s immigration statute alleges that "Illegal’s depress wages by $1.4 billion in Arizona." That study, however, did not consider, review or analyze the economic benefits of immigrants, such as the money they spend on goods and services in Arizona, as well as the amount of taxes they pay to the state and local governments.
We can all agree that catch phrases are an easy cop-out for many politicians -- on a whole range of topics. But this column in the L.A. Daily News is mostly just a rant without purpose or direction.
Some quick rebuttals:
Conventional wisdom among the voting public is that the 110th Congress failed to accomplish very much in 2007. Members must work to resolve a number of policy issues of importance to the business community – especially the food industry.
Next Tuesday, January 8th, I will be delivering my annual State of American Business address, laying out the Chamber's agenda for the year ahead.
Economists Predict Gloomy 2008
The state's economy is barely growing, according to the Alaska Department of Labor, which gave its annual employment forecast to local chamber of commerce members last week. Last year, job growth statewide increased at the lowest rates since the 1990s — around 1%. This year, new jobs will be even more scarce, in part because of the loss of nearly 900 construction jobs statewide over the past two years, according to the forecast.
Source: Anchorage Daily News
Mexican Official Warns State Over Immigration Law
The Mexican government promised Friday to defend any Mexicans affected by a new Arizona law that punishes employers who hire illegal immigrants. The Arizona law, which went into effect on January 1, prohibits businesses from knowingly employing illegal immigrants. An official from Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said it will "intervene, through its consulates, in any situation in which the rights of Mexican workers are affected, regardless of their immigration status."
In recent months I’ve been traveling around the country delivering a series of speeches on challenges America must meet and master in order to succeed in a tough global economy. Together, these challenges comprise the Chamber’s competitiveness agenda. Over the next five years – and beyond – we plan to focus extraordinary resources to advance these issues because they hold the key to our nation’s future economic success.
The U.S. Chamber's National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC) and its allies have refiled a lawsuit challenging the employment provisions of Arizona's immigration law. The original lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice by an Arizona federal judge on December 7. However, the court did not uphold the law or rule on the constitutionality of the law, which the Chamber is continuing to challenge.
Congress is unlikely to tackle comprehensive immigration reform until members and their constituents are directly affected by the lack of available workers, Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue told a dozen reporters on December 7 before kicking off a Chamber conference on state and local immigration laws. "To really get it done, to get rid of sanctimonious, emotional, uninformed rhetoric, I think it has to hurt more," Donohue said, predicting that it could be five years before Congress tackles another package of immigration reforms.
On Dec. 5, the Senate will try to move the Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill through committee and to the Senate floor. If this bill becomes law, 3.4 million Americans will lose their jobs. American GDP will decline by $1 trillion, and American consumers will be forced to pay as much as $6 trillion to cope with carbon constraints.
A U.S. District judge considered arguments last week in a case brought by immigration rights and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber's National Chamber Litigation Center, opposed to Arizona's new anti-immigration law.
You see the headlines nearly every day-new worker verification regulations, unannounced sweeps, and stricter employer sanctions. With employers increasingly targets of immigration enforcement and with a growing maze of new state and federal immigration laws and regulations, employers need to protect themselves.
So what can small businesses do to obey the laws and still stay in business?
The National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the U.S. Chamber's public policy law firm, has joined a lawsuit calling on the administration to reconsider, or at least delay, a new worksite immigration enforcement regulation that could adversely affect millions of American workers and businesses.
The National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the Chamber's public policy law firm, scored an important victory last week as a California district court barred the administration from moving forward with new and onerous procedures that would require businesses to enforce the nation's immigration laws or face criminal penalties.
Policymakers should legalize the immigrant workers who are already here and overhaul the currently broken visa system to allow more needed foreign workers into the country, Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue said in a speech before the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "The United States is producing more jobs than workers, and we need immigrants at all skill levels to balance the equation if we are to remain an economic superpower," Donohue said at the October 10th event.
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Businesses are increasingly becoming the target of state and local laws designed to crack down on undocumented workers. However, the National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the public policy law firm of the U.S. Chamber, is challenging the constitutionality of such laws based on the premise that they interfere with federal law and violate employers' due process rights.
The U.S. Chamber joined 50 other business groups in calling on the administration to postpone for six months a new regulation requiring employers to enforce federal immigration laws.
The U.S. Chamber has signed on to a lawsuit against a new Department of Homeland Security worksite immigration enforcement regulation. The Chamber's National Chamber Litigation Center argues that the agency did not comply with procedures laid out in existing federal law before issuing the new regulation. The regulation at issue outlines new onerous steps an employer must take when an employee's Social Security number does not match the government's records.
The U.S. Chamber recently joined a coalition of Arizona associations challenging the constitutionality of a new Arizona state law that interferes with federal law regulating the employment of undocumented workers.
The Arizona law imposes stiff sanctions on businesses, including the possible loss of their business licenses, without an opportunity for a hearing. The state also requires mandatory compliance with the Basic Pilot employment verification system, which is currently voluntary under federal law.
System Is Broken, Must Be Fixed
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
People on both sides of the immigration reform debate agree that the worst possible immigration policy is the status quo. We must enact a comprehensive policy that protects both our national and economic security.
The U.S. Chamber successfully fought off amendments in the Senate last week that would have weakened bipartisan compromise immigration legislation that the Chamber believes could serve as a blueprint for workable reform legislation.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined other business groups this week in expressing its disappointment over the withdrawal of S. 1348, the "Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007," and encouraged Congress to keep working on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber and TALKERS magazine, a prominent talk radio industry publication, hosted a lively debate on comprehensive immigration reform at a March 23 event.
A panel, which included Chamber Vice President for Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randy Johnson, discussed past and present legislative proposals and the impact of current immigration policy on key industries such as construction and agriculture.
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Can several seemingly unrelated news items on immigration provide insight into where the debate over this issue is headed and the prospects for a comprehensive reform deal?
A growing demand for both low-skilled and highly skilled workers requires changes to the nation's visa system, according to a letter the U.S. Chamber sent to lawmakers this week.
The Chamber is advocating for the following:
The U.S. Chamber's National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC) joined ACLU in urging a federal court to strike down as unconstitutional a Hazelton, Pennsylvania ordinance which regulates the employment of illegal immigrants.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed last week, NCLC argued that Hazleton's ordinance is unconstitutional because it ignores employers' due process rights and is preempted by federal law.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce brought together talk radio show hosts and immigration policy representatives to debate the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.
The panel of topic experts, including the Chamber's Vice President for Labor Policy Randy Johnson, discussed the "hot button issue" of immigration, including past and present legislative proposals at the state and federal level, the perception of the average American talk show listener and the impact of the current immigration policy on key industries such as construction and agriculture.
Welcomes Health Care, Energy, Immigration Proposals
In his State of the Union address on January 23, President Bush urged Congress to pass a number of economic and workforce proposals strongly favored by the U.S. Chamber.
Nearly half of private start-ups backed by venture capital in the United States were founded by one or more immigrants, according to a study by the National Venture Capital Association (http://www.nvca.org/).
The U.S. Chamber praised several of President Bush's initiatives in his State of the Union address, including health care, immigration, and education.
In the coming year, the Chamber will proactively advance a number of pro-growth proposals, launch a vigorous defense against anti-business proposals, and pursue far-reaching competitive reforms that extend well beyond the halls of Congress. Below is a brief overview of the Chamber's policy priorities:
Face-off: Earned Legalization for the Undocumented?
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
As the U.S. Senate considers a proposal to improve border security and reform immigration laws, any acceptable solution must be comprehensive, restore respect for the law, and not repeat the failures of the 1986 amnesty.
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