In Wake of Title 42’s End, American Business Immigration Coalition and Business Leaders Call for Biden Administration to Expand Humanitarian Parole and Allow States to Sponsor Immigrants on Work Visas
“This system would unlock jobs for migrants who are eager to work, provide certainty for long term contributors already here, and it would give states a new way of attracting much-needed workers to critical sectors of the economy and reduce pressure at the border .” – Mike Fernandez, chair, MBF Healthcare Partners
WASHINGTON – In the wake of the end of Title 42, today the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) and key Republican business leaders called on the Biden Administration to expand the humanitarian parole program and empower states to issue work visas to both longtime immigrant contributors and newly arriving immigrants, to meet their workforce needs.
This measure, already called for by Republican Governors Eric Holcomb of Indiana and Spencer Cox of Utah and Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, would conjoin two challenges— finding legal work for new waves of arrivals to the U.S. and the nation’s current severe labor shortage at 3.5% —into one solution that would benefit immigrants, employers and entire states alike. It would also reduce pressure at U.S.’s southern border.
“As more Americans come up on their retirement, not to mention say no to jobs in crucial yet grueling sectors like agriculture, construction and home health care, employers can’t find people to harvest crops, rebuild crumbling roads or take care of our elderly loved ones,” said American Business Immigration Coalition Executive Director Rebecca Shi. “American businesses need President Biden to expand Humanitarian Parole slots the Biden administration has offered recently to newcomers from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti and other countries south of our border, allowing them to have temporary legal and work status here. If we dramatically scaled that program, the benefits for immigrants and employers alike would be enormous.”
Title 42, a COVID pandemic policy that restricted immigration at our Southern border, ends now. Already we are seeing what was widely predicted, which is a substantial new population of migrants coming into the U.S. at the southern border—in the wake of migrants who have already come in recent months from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua. However, it should be noted that Biden’s existing humanitarian parole program for those migrants has reduced illegal border crossings significantly in recent months.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is suffering a severe labor shortage. In February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were nearly 10 million job openings. Economists have estimated that two years of lost immigration is responsible for nearly half of the workers missing from the labor force. In March, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showed that between 20 and 60 percent of jobs remained unfilled in key work sectors including manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.
Said Bob Worsley, Chair and CEO of ZenniHome, Arizona Republican State Senator (retired) and Co-Chair of ABIC: “We join a growing number of governors and U.S. senators in urging the Biden administration to expand that parole program to migrants who’ve already been contributing to key fields like agriculture and food service for many years now—and as well to young Dreamers who are too young to be eligible for the DACA program.”
He was echoed by Mike Fernandez, Chair, MBF Healthcare Partners, who said: “The federal government should give states the authority to apply for parole visas for the immigrants they need to meet their specific labor challenges. This system would unlock jobs for migrants who are eager to work, and it would give states a new way of attracting much-needed workers to critical sectors of the economy. By linking these two crises—the migrant wave and the labor shortage—we create vast opportunities out of both of them.”
American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) is a bipartisan coalition of over 1,200+ CEOs, business owners, and trade associations across 17 mostly red and purple states. ABIC promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.