The letter, signed by all 50 state restaurant-and-hospitality associations, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), and supported by hospitality, travel, tourism and franchise industries, expresses concern that the House-passed immigration bill (H.R. 4437) focuses on enforcement of existing laws, but does not recognize current economic realities.
With the Senate expected to begin review of immigration proposals next month, the letter encourages senators to put forth comprehensive legislation that not only enforces current immigration laws to ensure national security, but takes into consideration the importance of immigration on our nation's future economic growth.
"Immigrants have helped shape the history of our country and contribute greatly to the success of the restaurant industry," said Steven C. Anderson, NRA president and ceo. "The restaurant industry is expected to create 1.9 million new jobs by 2016. Long-term growth in the labor forces is not expected to keep pace with the number of new jobs. Comprehensive immigration reform can help meet the demands of a strong and growing restaurant industry, providing jobs that are critical to the nation's economy, and help safeguard our nation."
David French, senior vice president, government relations, International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), told ID Access that the distributors' trade association also supports this effort.
In an earlier letter to lawmakers, he wrote: "IFDA is also concerned that the House is not taking up overall immigration reform along with this bill. With many companies in foodservice and other industries struggling to fill positions, sensible expansion of legal immigration programs such as the guest worker program advocated by the President should be an essential part of America's workforce strategy. IFDA strongly objects to the passage of any immigration legislation that fails to increase the pool of available, documented legal workers."