WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, January 24th, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) met with the Administration to propose solutions for comprehensive immigration reform on behalf of the Hispanic business community. The USHCC advocated for protected legal status for DREAMers under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as well as a pathway to citizenship. The organization also supported increasing visa caps and improving the guestworker program. Finally, the USHCC supported enhanced border security through technological improvements and increased staffing.
“This meeting was an important opportunity to help educate the Administration on immigration reform, trade, and border technology,” said Ramiro Cavazos, President & CEO of the USHCC. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and work together to improve our immigration system for the betterment of the American economy.”
It is the stance of the USHCC that the following reforms will enhance the American economy, increase national security, and uphold the unique ideals of the United States:
1. Provide DREAMers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients with protected legal status and a pathway to citizenship. If both DREAMers and TPS recipients were forced to leave the United States, the U.S. economy would experience a $597 billion reduction in gross domestic product (GDP) over the next decade. The USHCC calls for a legislative solution that protects the legal status of these integral members of the American workforce and creates a pathway to citizenship.
2. Increase visa caps of all skill levels and provide a guest worker program to meet the demands of the American workforce. Key American industries are experiencing labor shortages that slow economic growth. Our limited and outdated visa system prevents employers from building a robust workforce. For example, the seasonal H-2B visa program is capped at 66,000 visas per year, leaving more than 142,000 seasonal jobs unfilled. The USHCC encourages lawmakers to update our visa system to meet the needs of expanding American industries.
3. Effectively enhance border security with technology. The USHCC advocates for improved technology and resources along the southern border that will modernize ports of entry and fortify the border using advanced fiber-optic cables. The U.S.-Mexico border is one of the most militarized in the world; due to technological improvements, arrests for unauthorized entry has dropped from 1.7 million in 2000 to 396,000 last year.
The USHCC supports further modernization of border technology such as infrared cameras, radar towers and blimps, and surveillance drones. In addition, we support increasing the number of border agents and immigration judges in order to efficiently process asylum seekers. Finally, the USHCC does not support the proposed wall along the entire southern border. The organization advocates for improving physical barriers only where reasonable on public land. Private property should not be taken from landowners in order to install a barrier—the final cost of which would likely exceed $40 billion.
The USHCC actively promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of more than 4.37 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that combined, contribute over $700 billion to the American economy every year. It also advocates on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local chambers and business associations nationwide. For more information, please visit ushcc.com. Follow us on Twitter @USHCC.