Immigrants have played a key role in the prosperity and growth of Northern Virginia, filling key jobs in every sector of our economy and contributing to the rich cultural and intellectual experience that characterizes our region. Businesses increasingly depend on foreign workers to fill jobs to remain competitive and to grow to meet future demands for products and services.
The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce (DRCC) supports efforts by the federal government to strengthen national security by providing thorough screening of foreign workers and creating strong disincentives for illegal immigration. DRCC also advocates that all businesses strictly comply with state and federal labor laws regarding the screening of citizenship documentation provided by employees, to avoid the hiring of individuals who are not lawfully residing in the U.S.
The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, however, opposes increased penalties on employers who unknowingly hire undocumented aliens until a consistent, reliable process for worker verification systems is established. DRCC advocates that any such worker verification system not unduly burden employers, be properly funded, and have a high data integrity confidence factor.
DRCC supports comprehensive immigration reform that, along with border security measures, will:
- Ensure an adequate supply of workers to support businesses in this region, including a limited guest worker program to fill gaps in our workforce;
- Continue and expand H-1B, L-1, and EB visas for professionals and highly skilled workers, and H-2B temporary visas that support seasonal industries and small businesses;
- Consider policies to require undocumented workers already contributing to the economy, provided that they are law-abiding and prepared to embrace the obligations and values of our society, to meet specific conditions and obligations in order to earn the legal right to remain in the U.S.; and
- Address delays, backlogs, and disruptions in our immigration and border management systems that impede the movement of legitimate cargo and travelers across U.S. borders.
DRCC believes that, on the immigration issue specifically, policymakers should be careful to ensure that legislation not increase costs and administrative burdens for businesses without any tangible economic benefit.