Phoenix, AZ – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden jointly hosted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) for a discussion with members of the Arizona Manufacturers Council and other local business leaders today at Mercury Systems in Phoenix, Arizona. The conversation focused on the manufacturing workforce and how immigration reform is urgently needed to strengthen it.
“The majority of Americans agree that the United States has a broken and unreliable immigration system, and our industry is united in the belief that this broken system is harming manufacturers’ competitiveness. With nearly 700,000 open jobs in manufacturing today and millions to fill this decade, immigration must be part of the solution,” said Timmons. “We must stay true to the values that have made America exceptional and kept manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity, and that requires a functioning immigration system that addresses our economy’s needs, as well as security and humanitarian concerns. Today’s discussion is an important step in the path toward building consensus for advancing immigration reforms, and we thank the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Sen. Sinema for their leadership.”
“Arizona has emerged as a premier destination for manufacturing growth, thanks to the pro-business policies we’ve implemented on a state level that have cut regulations and created an attractive tax environment for job creators to locate and expand,” said Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden. “Of course, there is so much to be done at the federal level to ensure the continued competitiveness and success of our state and nation’s manufacturing industry – and immigration and workforce must be a part of the discussion. We are grateful for the partnership and leadership of Sen. Sinema and NAM in addressing this critical issue.”
“Mercury was delighted to host Sen. Sinema and global technology manufacturing leaders for this important conversation,” said Tom Smelker, Mercury Systems’ vice president and general manager of microsystems. “The vast majority of advanced semiconductor packaging is done in southeast Asia today, and the United States recognizes the need for more secure domestic capacity. But our skilled labor workforce is constrained, and we need a faster path to bring in more talent.”
Background: The NAM’s immigration policy recommendations are outlined in “A Way Forward,” a plan originally released in 2019 and recently 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, with a focus on gang violence and on requiring localities to cooperate to advance the enforcement of immigration priorities.
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 nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.90 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% 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.