The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce used a speech this week to call for the doubling of legal immigration into the United States as well as a "permanent solution" for illegal immigrants who came to the country as children.
CEO Suzanne Clark said in the speech Tuesday that fellow CEOs and business leaders believe there is a "workforce shortage" posing a crisis that is "contributing to supply chain disruptions and rising inflation."
"So, who wants to put their talent to work and pursue their dreams in a dynamic economy flush with opportunity? Immigrants of every skill level. Where are they going to go? The U.S. or Canada? Let’s make it Austin or Boston, Atlanta or Denver, or any of the countless U.S. destinations in search of top talent," she said.
"We must double the number of people legally immigrating to the U.S. And we must create a permanent solution for the 'dreamers' – those young men and women who know no other home and who contribute to their communities, but whose legal status is in limbo," she said.
"Dreamer" is an activist-preferred term to refer to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, many of whom were given temporary protection under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. There have been a number of pushes in Congress to give a more permanent legal status to those protected from deportation.
The Chamber of Commerce has long been seen as a Republican ally, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Breitbart News, which first reported Clark’s comments, that the chamber had "left the party a long time ago."
"I just assume they have as much influence in the future as they do now — none," McCarthy said. "Our responsibility is to the American public. That is who’s going to drive it. If special interests are the American public then they’ll have a say, but it’s the American public we’re going to."
Corporations, Democrats and activists have put forward a number of significant immigration measures, as well as various forms of amnesty for illegal immigrants. However, those efforts stumbled last year as a comprehensive immigration bill failed to gain any Republican support in the Senate and a budget reconciliation bill -- which included a range of immigration provisions -- was shut down by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Meanwhile, on legal immigration, the immigration reform bill would have dramatically increased the caps for work, family and diversity visas, while provisions in the budget reconciliation bill included a measure in which "unused" green cards from prior years would be "recaptured" to be used to reduce backlogs. That effort has the support of Big Tech companies, who lobbied for their inclusion given how it would benefit tech workers with H-1B visas.