Immigration Policy

Public policy related to immigration can significantly impact employers in Pennsylvania and is increasingly relevant to businesses in a globalizing economy. While border control and facilitating lawful immigration are clearly the primary missions of federal immigration laws and the government entities tasked with enforcement, policies should also benefit employers and recognize the role immigrants can play in achieving economic success.

The PA Chamber supports federal immigration policies that serve as a catalyst to enhance U.S.-based companies' international competitiveness and will help provide an adequate and predictable workforce. This includes expanding and improving administration of the programs that provide employer-sponsored green cards and temporary work visas made available annually for high- and lesser-skilled workers. Immigration policies should specifically reflect the value of facilitating legal work status for foreign nationals with advanced degrees and/or an expertise in a STEM field as well as workers in industries with a high demand for labor, like agriculture. The PA Chamber supports increasing the ability of highly qualified foreign students to attend American institutions of higher education and to remain in the United States following receipt of their degrees. The PA Chamber opposes efforts by state or local communities to regulate immigration through employment, licensing or other restrictions on employers that might conflict with federal immigration policy.

The PA Chamber further supports efforts to improve and ensure the accuracy of the federal E-Verify system, which is intended to be a database through which employers can confirm the legal status of current or prospective employees. The PA Chamber opposes requiring all employers to use the E-Verify system; however, should such a mandate be imposed, the PA Chamber believes it should:

  1. provide safe harbor protections for employers who attempt in good faith to satisfy the mandate;
  2. only require businesses to verify new hires in a direct employer-employee relationship; and
  3. include preemption of state and local laws that currently mandate E-Verify.