Immigration and the state of the American workforce historically go hand in hand. Today, that is as true as ever. America is in a workforce crisis. While the Trump administration is leading efforts to revitalize the American workforce, many job openings remain unfilled—6 million, according to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, an assertion that would be confirmed anecdotally by the vast majority of large companies. The economic, educational, and social forces that cause such vacancies are immense and, in the short term, intractable. Many companies are in the meantime legally employing foreign-born workers to help fill these workforce gaps—while investing over thirty-five times as much toward revitalizing the American workforce as the federal government.
Unfortunately, the U.S. debate over immigration reform often fails to place immigration policy appropriately in its broader economic context. In recent decades, policymakers have largely failed to adjust immigration rules to admit the manpower—from Ph.D. scientists to unskilled workers—that U.S. companies require to compete and grow. The consequences of inaction negatively affect our national economy, communities, workers, and global competitiveness.