This month OCBC’s Board of Directors formally updated its federal immigration policy. In May of 2006, the board adopted its original immigration policy. As was the case in 2006, the issue of immigration reform has once again risen to the top of the national debate. Given the change in political and economic realities, OCBC updated its policy to maintain relevance in the national debate. The original policy opposed illegal immigration and supported broad policy principles including strengthening border security and a carefully monitored guest worker program. The updated policy expands OCBC’s support for use of guest worker visas along with a defined path to permanent residency or citizenship. The new policy focuses on the business community’s need for skilled and lower-skilled employees.
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, there are more than eleven million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Of the total number of unauthorized immigrants, 24% reside in California. Large sectors of Southern California’s economy are dependent on a workforce that cannot currently be identified as being in the country legally. Orange County businesses should not be held responsible for administering the county’s immigration verification system. That is the responsibility of the United States government. The business community should not be held responsible, when in good faith they comply with current federal law by obtaining the appropriate documentation for the hiring of employees.
A guest worker program should be established so employers can obtain the workforce needed to conduct business. A defined path to permanent residency and/or citizenship should also be included in a comprehensive immigration reform package to ensure continuity and certainty for America’s employers and immigrant workforce. Whether they are in the high-tech sector such as engineers, or in a less skilled field, the business community should have access to a steady and reliable workforce.
OCBC has been approached by a number of business coalition partners and labor leaders to engage the national debate. Specifically, the US Chamber and AFL-CIO have asked for OCBC’s support of their joint position on US Immigration Reform legislation. CLICK HERE for OCBC’s federal immigration policy. For more information, contact Bryan Starr, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.