Immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy, 1,470 economists wrote in a recent letter to the president and congressional leaders. It’s a viewpoint that the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors has held since fall 2012.
Then, they voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting the Colorado Compact on Immigration, an effort to convene and promote a bipartisan conversation on immigration. June is Immigrant Heritage Month, celebrating a United States that is fueled by immigrants from around the world and the ways in which America and the immigrants who have built our country are linked in a shared, productive history.
Find out where the Chamber stands:
A path to citizenship. We know that Colorado has a population of undocumented individuals who were brought into the U.S. as children. They’ve been educated in Colorado schools and it’s essential they earn the ability to contribute to our community. Colorado has great needs for a skilled workforce: In just three years, 74 percent of our jobs will require some post-secondary education. We must ensure all of our kids get to and through education beyond high school and are ready for Colorado’s jobs of today and our future.
Maintaining our skilled workforce. With so many opportunities with our employers and record-low unemployment, we also need skilled people who are ready to go to work now. We’ve acknowledged the lack of H-1B visas for highly skilled foreign nationals for a number of years. Now more than ever we need to address this.
More visas for Colorado businesses. Colorado’s agriculture and recreation industries, including the ski industry, rely on the use of H-2A and H-2B visas, which allow a foreign national entry into the U.S. for temporary or seasonal work. The current visa system fails to meet the challenging workforce needs of these important sectors of Colorado’s economy. Without reform, these industries will continue to suffer.
We continue to urge members of Congress to work together to help move our country and our state forward on this issue. To learn more about Immigrant Heritage Month visit iamanimmigrant.com.
Dorothy Ostrogorski is the public affairs manager for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.