The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) applauds the introduction of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act and commends the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators for their efforts to fix the U.S. immigration system so that it serves our economy.
AH&LA supports the inclusion of a temporary worker program as part of a broad-based immigration reform proposal, which would addresses the future needs of our economy. We are strongly encouraged by the inclusion of a new, more streamlined process for employers and workers. It is clear that the “Gang of Eight” invested a great deal of thought and effort to create a program that ensured that extensive recruitment of Americans would occur prior to the hiring of a temporary worker, and that the higher of the actual or the prevailing wage would be paid.
The inclusion of the Jobs Originating through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act in the immigration legislation is another significant benefit for the entire U.S. economy, as the provision would accelerate America’s efforts to regain its share of the travel marketplace. AH&LA supports key provisions that include developing a pilot program for expedited visa processing and charging fees sufficient to pay for it, encouraging longer visits to the U.S. by qualified Canadians, and setting a visa processing goal to increase accountability in the U.S. visa system. There are also key reforms to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), so we can welcome critical VWP travelers from more nations, while upgrading our public safety through strict security safeguards.
The lodging industry also greatly appreciates the “Gang of Eight’s” inclusion of the H-2B returning worker exemption and wage methodology in their legislation. Seasonal properties throughout the country rely on that program for temporary seasonal workers during their peak business periods.While there are some improvements we hope can be made, this immigration bill is a significant achievement and we are extremely grateful for the dedication and hard work demonstrated by these eight senators to fix the U.S. immigration system.