U.S. Immigration Reform
Just as open trade in goods and services builds a stronger world economy, immigration can help countries, communities and industries thrive. That is why Cargill supports comprehensive U.S. immigration reform.
Illegal immigration is a highly charged issue, as the arrival of undocumented workers in the U.S. can create social and economic challenges in some communities. Border enforcement alone has not successfully addressed the problem. New legislation is necessary to create a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, so they can continue to be productive members of society, contribute to the country’s economy and provide for their families.
- The best antidote to illegal immigration is a legal immigration system that works.
- We favor proposals that allow undocumented workers to gain legal status in a reasonable, transparent and humane way, that treat people and their families with dignity and respect, and that are fair to U.S. citizens.
- Immigration reform should also address the labor needs of industry. That means giving employers the ability to hire qualified immigrants for jobs that go unfilled by the domestic work force. It also requires federal standards and technology for verifying employment eligibility and combating identity theft and fraud.
- The U.S. needs two types of foreign workers for positions employers often cannot fill: highly skilled jobs like scientists and engineers, and lower-skilled roles in agriculture, manufacturing plants and the service sector.
- Immigration reform legislation should provide practical ways for highly skilled workers to stay longer or become permanent residents. Without reform, highly skilled migrant workers – for instance computer scientists and electrical engineers – are often forced to leave the U.S. when their temporary visas run out, taking their potential job-creating innovations with them.
- Lesser-skilled immigrant workers, too, should be allowed to stay longer to improve their skills. For Cargill, it can cost as much as $10,000 to train an employee. We offer good wages, family health care, 401(k) retirement savings plans and language training to retain employees. But we – and the U.S. economy – lose that investment if workers are limited to temporary visas.
- Employers should be required to use electronic verification – or E-Verify – tools to screen job applicants’ eligibility for employment. Cargill’s own procedures include more than 20 screening tools, including criminal background and credit checks, to determine if workers are authorized. Such measures should be standardized across the economy to be fully effective.
- In addition, a “safe harbor” provision should be adopted to protect responsible companies that make a good-faith effort to comply with labor laws.