Immigration Works USA, a national federation of employers working to advance better immigration law, hosted a forum on August 20th for Houston employers to voice their needs in the immigration reform debate. Several member companies of the IT Serve Alliance of Texas attended along with legal counsel Emily Neumann and Rahul Reddy from the Houston immigration law firm of Reddy & Neumann, P.C. The highlight of the event was the ability for employers to interact with Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX.), Vice Chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee (Immigration). Representatives of Houston companies in four different industries discussed the need for a temporary guest worker program to fill the gaps created by a lack of available U.S. workers, particularly for construction, hospitality, and landscaping jobs.
The discussion centered as much on U.S. workers as it did on visa programs for foreign workers. Opponents of a guest worker program have long argued that it would take jobs away from U.S. workers, however the employers in attendance emphasized that their attempts to hire U.S. workers for skilled labor positions are mostly unfruitful. The same can be found in the Information Technology industry. In a number of critical skills, there are an insufficient number of U.S. workers to meet demand. Consequently, access to foreign workers is essential for business growth. Each of the companies involved in the forum confirmed that they could not survive without foreign workers.
Congressman Poe confirmed that House lawmakers are unwilling to consider the Senate’s immigration reform bill and are instead working on a piecemeal approach. Targeted measures already approved by the House Judiciary Committee deal with mandatory E-Verify, Border Security, high-skilled immigration, interior enforcement, and an agricultural guest worker program. A version of the Dream Act and a temporary guest worker program for nonfarm workers are still to be discussed. Once all bills are passed out of committee, they are expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote one by one. Then the bills will be strung together in a package that can be reconciled with the Senate bill in conference committee.
IT Serve Alliance is a voluntary association of more than 80 IT consulting firms in Texas who provide services to fortune 500 companies by hiring workers in US and keeping jobs here in US.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas representing corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform.