New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Hope For Immigration Reform

With the constant wave of tension surrounding immigration issues in the country, any slight positivity on the matter is likely a spark of hope for interested parties. One major problem that has plagued immigration, is the disagreement among political parties over the Immigration reform. With such a problem, no favorable and agreeable deal can be reached to finally put the matter to rest. But recent developments seem to point things in a favorable light.

The month of December began with hopes as Senators Thom Tillis (Republican representative of North Carolina) and Kyrsten Sinema (Independent representative of Arizona) tried skirting around a possible immigration deal. The likelihood of a bi-partisan deal inspires hope among the major business groups as such an immigration deal will let in more foreign workers into the country and will greatly reduce the shortage of employers. Although industries spanning from agriculture to technology have frequently persuaded Congress to amend laws on the immigration system in favor of more foreign workers to gain employment, there has been no serious improvement.

Although the details of the Tillis-Sinema deal have not been fully revealed, hopes are being kept alive due to a good record of the pair reaching an agreement on other matters. With the window of opportunity quickly closing in the advent of a new Congress, concerned industries are doing all they can to see that the bill is successful within the limited time.

The Vice President of public affairs at the National Restaurant Association rightly agrees that events have never been more favorable. He also opines that this legislation may not see the light of day in the next Congress, coupled with the presidential election fast approaching. Hence, this might just be the best time.

With the potential of the Tillis-Sinema bill favoring more immigrant workers and reducing the shortage of labor, more organizations are set to give it full backing as much as they can. The Chamber of Commerce for instance has openly declared its support for the bill. Recently, the American Hotel and Lodging Association started a six-figure publicity campaign in North and South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, and West Virginia asking Congress to pass legislation in favor of more immigrant workers. In like manner, the National Restaurant Association has promised to host a campaign to back a possible bill when they have more details on the matter.

Jon Baselice, the vice president of immigration policy at the Chamber of Commerce in a statement commended the courage of Sinema and Tillis in tackling such a difficult problem, adding that the Chamber is encouraged by their efforts. He also added that the Chamber is hoping to work with the duo in the next few weeks to ensure the success of the legislation as it concerns border security, reforms to asylum laws, and lasting relief to Dreamers in the country.

Sen. Tillis told reporters a few days ago that he is still working to get more lawmakers to support the framework of the bill, but it has been received with a positive countenance so far. He also rightly opined that there isn't much time as the House will be taken over by Republicans in January. Hence, the best bet is that the bill is passed as quickly as possible as a majority of Republicans in the House will cause more difficulties even if the Senate manages to find a compromise. However, Capitol Hill doubts the possibility of a deal before the year rolls to an end.

Due to the high shortage in labor supply, Businesses have ceaselessly appealed to Congress to amend the immigration system so that there will be more inflow of immigrant workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that last month alone, there were 10.3 million open jobs. In the restaurant and hotel services, there are respectively over 400,000 and 350,000 more in labor shortage than in the pandemic period. This excessive labor shortage has resulted in restaurants reducing their hours and hotels cutting back on services or operating below full capacity.

Sean Kennedy reported that a major reason forcing restaurants to close down is that there are not enough workers to allow them to stay open or adequately serve customers. Hence, they are unable to pay their bills or keep their doors open for much longer.

Economists have opined that a decrease in the number of job vacancies might result in largely bringing down inflation. This is because reduced competition for labor will increase wages that are passed down to consumers by companies.

Senators such as Ben Cardin, D-Md. has shown their support for Sinema and Tillis's bill, although he acknowledged that it will be quite challenging to execute before the year's end.

On the other hand, some Republicans who have been previously involved in changing immigration laws see the Tillis-Sinema move as a futile effort. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. referred to their effort as a pipe dream, stating that something has to be done with the border first, you can't just rush into legalizing people. He appreciated their effort and acknowledged the possibility of a deal at the end of the day.

Recently we learned that the EAGLE Act that was meant to rid of per-country employment visas’ quotas was pulled from the voting floor amid parties’ disagreement on the reform. However, the Immigration community remains hopeful that progress will be reached in the nearest future.

21 December 2022
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