April 7, 2013

The April 3 editorial “Mr. Rubio on the fence” called the bureau that would be part of a new worker visa program “a new government agency” and “a system that smacks of centralized planning.” Nothing could be further from the construct agreed upon by the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.

The new bureau would be located within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency charged with adjudicating immigration benefits, and it would have limited authority. Specifically, the bureau would be responsible for analyzing and reporting on immigration. It would engage in rulemaking to allow employers seeking workers in designated occupations with shortages to get priority if the annual visa cap is met, and it would apply a formula set by Congress to raise and lower the cap between 20,000 and 200,000 visas.

Employers would not be limited to seeking foreign workers solely in occupations where shortages have been identified. In fact, employers across industries, sectors and geographies would be able to register any job opening where they have completed rigorous recruitment but have been unable to locate sufficient numbers of qualified and interested Americans.

Randel K. Johnson, Washington

The writer is senior vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.