Companies lay off workers, demand more immigration

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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More than 120 major companies have signed a letter urging the GOP’s House leadership to pass a major rewrite of the nation’s immigration law, even though several of the companies have laid off workers in recent years.

The Sept. 10 letter to the Republican House Speaker, John Boehner, urges him “to fix the broken immigration system and work with the Senate to ensure that a bill is signed by the President this year.”

Some of the companies that signed the letter have recently laid off thousands of Americans. Hewlett-Packard, for example, fired 29,000 people in 2012. United Technology is laying off 3,000 this year, and American Express is firing 4,500, according to a survey by the Washington Examiner. The list also include government contractors, such as Alliant Techsystems, which manufacturers weapons and ammunition for the government.

The immigration rewrite passed by the Senate in July would provide a staged amnesty to 11 million illegals, double the inflow of immigrants to 46 million by 2033 and double the resident population of university-trained, blue-collar or agricultural guest-workers to more than 2 million. The increased inflow would add one immigrant for every two American births.

The GOP-led House has developed a series of immigration bills, but the GOP leadership has not announced plans for a floor vote.

“Even with the economy still recovering, many of our companies continue to have difficulty finding sufficient American workers to fill certain lesser-skilled positions,” said the Sept. 10 letter, which was signed by personnel executives at major companies. “Our global competitors understand that attracting top talent from around the world is vital to a country’s economic success,” the letter said.

Polls shows most Americans strongly oppose the increased inflow of foreign workers scheduled by the bill. However, many Americans are willing to back an conditional amnesty of illegal immigrants, but only the government follows through on promises to end to further illegal immigration.

Left-wing and right-wing advocates for American workers fear that a business-backed immigration rewrite would worsen Americans’ wages and employment opportunities.

Correction: An earlier version of this article inaccurately portrayed Duck Commander — the company featured in A&E’s Duck Dynasty TV show — as a subsidiary of Alliant TechSystems. Alliant licenses Duck Commander’s duck-call products, but does not own any part of Duck Commender, which is based in West Monroe, La.

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