Letter to the editor: Immigration reform needed to help end workforce shortage

Elizabeth Miller

Colorado is facing a historic workforce shortage, with key industries such as construction, health care and the highly profitable winter resort industry all in desperate need of additional employees. Unable to find new employees, many businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. The labor shortage, driven and compounded by the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is preventing local businesses from thriving and our state from recovering from the economic challenges of the past two years.

Thankfully, there is a solution that would help address our worker shortage: immigration reform. There are over 500,000 immigrant residents in Colorado, many of whom are undocumented and ready, willing and able to fill job vacancies. But due to our failed immigration system, many local businesses are unable to access this untapped pool of potential employees. To help address the labor shortage and expand our immigrant workforce, congressional reform is needed.

During a recent speech, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clarke underscored that immigrant workers are a clear solution to the workforce shortage, and I completely agree.

If Congress truly cares about supporting businesses and growing the economy, it will enact reforms that permanently fix our broken immigration system like those included in the legislation passed last year by the House of Representatives. I urge Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper to stand by Colorado’s small businesses and pass immigration reforms that will help end the workforce shortage.

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