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DC's Immigration Debate Comes to a Head

April 2, 2024
A car drives alongside the border fence between the US and Mexico in Jacumba, Calif., in December.(VALERIE MACON via Getty Images).

A lot is up for debate this week on Capitol Hill as immigration negotiations intensify, but one thing is clear about any deal: It's not likely to help businesses much.

What many in the business world want are changes to make it easier for companies to fill worker shortages with immigrants, such as an increase in the number of H-1B visas. But unlike in previous talks, that issue doesn't even appear to be on the table this time around.

"It's become a huge issue and you already have a slowing or ceasing of semiconductor facility build-outs," notes Greg Wright, a professor of economics at the University of California Merced who is focused on the labor market impacts of globalization and immigration.

"The only short- or medium-term solution is immigration," he added, noting that training efforts to have American workers fill many of these specialized jobs will take years to bear significant fruit.

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