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Capitol Hill Briefing – Fixing the Immigration System

Immigration policy experts and leaders from the business community conducted a briefing for Capitol Hill staffers May 13 on how to fix the immigration system so that it works for employers and for the U.S. economy.  International Franchise Association Vice Pres., Government Relations & Public Policy Jay Perron spoke to congressional aides about the proposed “W Visa” program for low-skilled immigrant workers.

Perron also addressed E-Verify mandates recently introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate as part of comprehensive immigration reform package titled the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act.

The panel sought to address key questions concerning the need for a less-skilled worker program, whether the program is well-designed, and whether it meets the needs of employers in general and the franchise community in particular.

Here are excerpts from the briefing:

“The W Visa program for low-skilled immigrant workers is a well-crafted blueprint. In contrast to most temporary worker programs, applying for a slot will be streamlined and predictable and the size of the program adjusts automatically according to U.S. labor needs.”
ImmigrationWorks USA Pres. Tamar Jacoby (Moderator) 

“Construction can never have more than 15,000 visas per year under the W Visa program. The program is too small to fill our work force needs. Even in the downturn, construction employers in many pockets of the country cannot find enough American workers.”
Associated Builders and Contractors Vice Pres.,
Federal Affairs Geoff Burr

“There are not enough Americans willing to be dishwashers and fill positions at fast-food restaurants. Americans are increasingly better educated and are seeking higher-paying opportunities. This is why we need a temporary worker program.”
International Franchise Association Vice Pres., Government Relations & Public Policy  Jay Perron

“After months of negotiations, the E-Verify title in Senate bill S.744 is much improved. The drafters took into account employers’ top concerns – including ensuring that employers won’t be held liable for workers from companies they have contracts with.”
Capitol Legislative Strategies Partner Jenna Hamilton 

“The unauthorized population increased by 500,000 people a year between 2000 and 2007, illustrating the high demand for these workers. The question is whether there will be a temporary worker program that can accommodate the country’s labor needs when the economy recovers.”
Migration Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst Madeleine Sumption 

Kevin Serafino is manager, government relations & public policy for the International Franchise Association.  He can be reached at 202-662-0783 or


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