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Manufacturers Renew Call for Action on Immigration

NAM CEO says broken system is harming manufacturers’ competitiveness

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons addressed the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturers’ Summit today, where he made another call for policymakers to act on immigration, saying it is time to “fix this problem now.” Timmons called on Congress to act in the year-end government funding bill.  His remarks come as the NAM rereleased its immigration proposal “A Way Forward.”

Excerpts from Timmons’ speech:

“First and foremost, this is a humanitarian issue. We see it play out in tragic ways—including family separations at the border and confusion as families seek to reunite following a harrowing journey.”

“But as manufacturing and business leaders, we also know there are serious economic consequences. Research and development—the cornerstone of innovation and our industry’s success—depends on access to the best and brightest from across the world.”

“The broken immigration status quo is also preventing us from growing our talent pool, leaving jobs unfilled. There are around six job seekers for every 10 job openings in the U.S., and our population growth is slowing. Last year, the U.S. population grew at its slowest rate ever.”

“Last year’s infrastructure law and this year’s CHIPS and Science Act prove that Congress can still get bipartisan things done—and immigration should be next on the list, whether it’s one bill or multiple bills. We would absolutely support a long-term, comprehensive legislative fix that addresses all of these issues, but we also want to be realists. We have a workforce crisis that needs to be addressed now, so let’s take action where we can. We want to focus on the art of the possible. One approach would be to address some of these issues in the year-end government funding bill.”

First released in 2019 and updated to reflect current challenges, the NAM’s “A Way Forward” proposal identifies seven core areas of action for Congress and the administration to take:

  • Strengthen border security through physical infrastructure and best-in-class technology.
  • Prioritize America’s workforce needs through reforms to the legal immigration system.
  • Reform nonimmigrant visas and temporary worker programs to reflect employer needs, including a fund to support STEM programs so that we can reduce the need for these types of visas in the future.
  • Provide a permanent and compassionate solution for populations facing uncertainty, including the Dreamers, who were brought here as children and know no other home.
  • Reform asylum and refugee programs for a more orderly and humane system, including asylum standards consistent with our values.
  • Fix the problem of the unauthorized population with a firm reset, requiring an orderly process of review, including financial penalties for those who seek to become legal and deportation for those who choose to stay in the shadows.
  • Strengthen the rule of law so that it is respected and followed by all, with a focus on gang violence and also on requiring localities to cooperate to advance the enforcement of immigration priorities.

View “A Way Forward” in full here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

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