Immigration Reform: A Time to Act

A Way Forward

America is a nation of immigrants—and a nation with a broken immigration system. If we continue with current immigration practices, we will lose talent, opportunity and economic growth. Manufacturers believe that now is the time to enact immigration reforms that balance compassion and security to create a stronger country and a stronger economy.


The future of America’s economy—and manufacturers’ competitiveness—will be determined in part by the future of immigration policy. Over the centuries, generations of immigrants have made the American experiment possible, helping to turn the United States into an exceptional nation and an unrivaled global leader. But while America is indeed a nation of immigrants, it has also become a nation with a broken and unreliable immigration system. Manufacturers believe our leaders have not only an obligation to fix this system but also an opportunity to do so as we work to strengthen our economy and our workforce and prepare for the challenges ahead.

Decades of neglect and lack of enforcement of existing laws and regulations have eroded the confidence of our citizens in the sanctity of our borders—while also leaving those who know no home other than the United States worried about their future, living in uncertainty and fear. Now, the conflict between those who rightly want our laws followed and those who recognize the contributions of immigrants and continued immigration to the United States has become a flashpoint.

It is time to move beyond these conflicts and focus on solutions to the problems that have plagued our system for too long. We can take an approach that strengthens our workforce and economy, bolsters our national security, upholds our rule of law, demonstrates compassion and establishes a modern, well-functioning system for welcoming new people to the United States.

This is the type of reform that manufacturers have long advocated and expect from elected leaders. And because manufacturers are in the business of building solutions, the National Association of Manufacturers put forth “A Way Forward,” a reasonable and practical proposal designed to address the problems created by our current system and to fix those issues once and for all. Since its release in 2019, the plan has helped shape the dialogue among government leaders and immigration stakeholders on the need for bold action and solutions that will enhance economic competitiveness. The latest edition of this document is updated with new data available in 2022 and includes new information on the vital role immigrants play in powering manufacturing innovation in the United States.

Whether Congress and the administration take up these solutions in a step-by-step manner or pursue a
comprehensive approach, action cannot be delayed. Failing to act weakens our industry and our country, exacerbating economic and workforce challenges and making the immigration quagmire even more complex.

Real solutions will require compromise, and “A Way Forward” was designed with that in mind. We have an opportunity to move beyond the rhetoric and confusion that have defined this issue and to reestablish America’s leadership and values, while making our country safer and our economy stronger.

If we do that, we will have given those who deserve it a chance to be a productive and contributing part of our country. And we will have upheld the values that make this nation of immigrants exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.

Jay Timmons
President and CEO
National Association of Manufacturers

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