Following President Barack Obama’s address on Thursday announcing an Executive Order to expand and extend programs for selected groups of undocumented immigrants, the American Hotel & Lodging Association called on the President, Congress, and other stakeholders to work together toward comprehensive immigration reform.
“The President and Congress have a unique opportunity to reform and enhance the current immigration system and provide the hotel industry and many other sectors a powerful tool to establish certainty, grow jobs, and continue to build our economy. Our nation is desperate for a modern, effective immigration system that reflects the needs of today’s marketplace. Providing employers an efficient system to verify workers, enhancing national security, and creating a process to address those undocumented workers already in the country are just a few of the reforms that would enable hotels to solidify their business models, better understand their current needs and plan for the future,” said AH&LA President and CEO Katherine Lugar.
“The hotel industry welcomed Senate passage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act largely because it was a bipartisan, comprehensive approach for fixing our immigration system. And while today’s action by the President seeks to address the critical issue of immigration, we strongly urge President Obama and Congress to work closely together with invested stakeholders and industry leaders to find common-ground solutions that lead to wide-ranging, permanent reforms. By doing so, workers will be better positioned to seek employment in the hotel industry, which provides incredible opportunities for career development and upward mobility. In addition, investors, developers and hotel employers will have the certainty they need to successfully create good jobs, with benefits that so many people need,” Lugar said.
Moving forward, AH&LA will continue to press Congress for comprehensive immigration reform that addresses issues specific to the hotel industry, and the association strongly encourages members do the same. Specifically, AH&LA looks to the President and Congress to establish a process to identify, screen, fine, and place in probationary status those undocumented workers currently in the U.S.; ensure that any new employment verification system is effective, efficient, and fair; strengthen the H-2B temporary worker program; create a new lesser-skilled temporary worker program that allows non-agricultural employers to obtain workers when American workers are unavailable; and streamline visa processing and expand the number of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program.