Business & Lobbying

Top manufacturing group presses Congress to protect ‘Dreamers’

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The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is renewing calls for Congress to pass legislation that would protect “Dreamers” and immigrants participating in the temporary protected status (TPS) program.

The trade group, along with more than 30 manufacturing and local business associations, sent a letter to senators on Wednesday urging them to provide certainty as an “important first step” toward a larger immigration overhaul.

“These individuals have been pursuing the American Dream for years, but conflicting administrative actions and unpredictable court decisions continue to make their futures uncertain,” the letter reads. “Congress needs to send a strong signal that we welcome their talents, hard work, desire for education, and if serving, their willingness to wear the uniform of the American armed forces.” 

The letter comes as immigration legislation has stalled in the Senate. In March, the House passed the Dream and Promise Act, which would protect Dreamers and TPS holders and allow them to apply for citizenship. But Senate Republicans aren’t biting on the measure, and Democrats are focused on their infrastructure proposal. 

Stephanie Hall, director of innovation policy at the NAM, said the organization is hopeful it can win Republican support in the Senate for the bill. Hall noted that a wide range of business interests support the measure, and nine House Republicans backed the legislation in March.

“We view this area that just needs a push to remind everyone that clear solutions exist and that it is possible to find bipartisan agreement on this,” Hall said.

NAM and other business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have long supported similar measures to provide a pathway to citizenship for certain undocumented immigrants. The Chamber endorsed the House bill and the Dream Act, which was introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

But Senate Republicans, including Graham, have insisted that they will not address the issue until they believe President Biden has sufficiently addressed the influx of migrants at the southern border. GOP leaders have signaled they will make immigration a key campaign issue in the 2022 midterms as they seek to retake control of Congress.

“I can’t imagine that we would take up an immigration-related bill, no matter how worthy it might be … without insistence on our part that we address the obvious crisis at the border,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters in late April.

Tags Dick Durbin DREAM Act Dreamers Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell TPS undocumented immigrants
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