We at the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition join our fellow Americans in expressing our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims of the tragic attack of September 11, 2001. We also offer our profound thanks to the heroic rescue workers in New York, Pennsylvania, and Arlington.

The Administration and Congress have responded vigorously to help the nation recover from this tragedy, punish those responsible, and prevent future murderous acts of terrorism. To this critically important effort, EWIC pledges our support. Once the Administration and Congress have completed these difficult tasks and when they decide the time is right to turn to the important policy issue of immigration reform, we at EWIC will be there to assist them.

The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) is a coalition of businesses, trade associations, and other organizations from across the industry spectrum concerned with the shortage of both skilled and lesser skilled (“essential worker”) labor. While all sectors of the economy have benefited from the extended period of economic growth, one significant impediment to continued growth is the shortage of essential workers. With unemployment rates in some areas approaching zero and with continuing vigorous welfare-to-work, school-to-work, and other recruitment efforts, businesses are now finding themselves with no applicants of any kind for numerous job openings. Reliance on market forces has proven to be unsuccessful. There simply are not enough people to meet the demand of our strong economy.

The shortage of workers is of such magnitude that some of our industries refer to it as one of the most important business issues. Many firms are curtailing expansion plans because of a lack of available, qualified workers. Indeed, the Federal Reserve Board has noted many times the widespread shortage of essential workers throughout the United States and its impact on our economy. We believe that part of the solution involves allowing companies to hire foreign workers to fill the essential worker shortages. When companies can not fill jobs with U.S. workers, hiring foreign nationals should be a viable alternative.

EWIC supports policies that facilitate the employment of essential workers by U.S. companies and organizations. Current immigration law and recent tightening of federal immigration policy have greatly curtailed this potential source of workers. Congress must take action to address the problems associated with the unprecedented job growth, low unemployment and corresponding inability to find domestic workers to meet the needs of American employers. Failure to do so risks American prosperity and leadership in the global economy.

Essential Worker Immigration Coalition
1201 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005-3931
jgay@ahlaonline.org,       reiffl@gtlaw.com