UPDATED with latest data from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
WASHINGTON, DC – As the United States continues to experience historic labor shortages contributing to inflation and impacting costs for families, new FWD.us analysis shows that immigration relief could help address these shortages and curb inflationary trends. FWD.us estimates that some 2.6 million immigrants covered by immigration relief provisions in the Build Back Better (BBB) Act currently work in industries experiencing some of the highest labor shortages (6% or higher share of jobs unfilled).
Immigrants in the workforce, including those who are undocumented and those waiting to transition from temporary to permanent status, need certainty in their legal status to help stabilize our country’s labor force and stave off increased inflation. Without the passage of BBB, workers facing the threat of deportation or expiring work permits will contribute to further uncertainty for them and for the labor force in these industries.
“Our analysis makes clear that the immigration relief included in the Build Back Better Act will make a meaningful impact in addressing worker shortages that have led to higher inflation. Without legal protections, the threat of deportation for undocumented immigrants and their families, as well as expiring immigrant work permits for temporary immigrants, our nation’s workforce could be dealt a further, completely unnecessary blow into 2022,” said Phillip Connor, Senior Demographer for FWD.us. “We found that 2.6 million immigrants covered by the immigration relief provisions in BBB work in industries with the most significant labor shortages. This includes nearly 600,000 immigrants who work in accommodation and food services and more than 200,000 in transportation and warehousing. If we want to stabilize, and potentially grow, our nation’s workforce in the coming months and years, we need the immigration relief provisions in BBB to be signed into law as soon as possible.”
Millions of immigrants covered by the Build Back Better Act work in industries with labor shortages
With clear budgetary impact, the immigration reforms in the Build Back Better Act show immense economic benefits for the United States. Lasting protections, as included in the legislation, for approximately 7 million Dreamers and undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States, on average, for 20 years, would contribute to the economy, raise tax revenue, help relieve the current worker shortage, raise wages for all Americans, and strengthen the nation’s competitiveness.
Our goal is to create pathways to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who are American in all but paperwork. This measure falls short, but we believe it’s a significant step forward for those who will benefit, and a significant step forward towards achieving our goal of citizenship for all. Two things can be true at the same time: that this legislation is far less than what is needed, and would still be life-changing for millions of immigrant families across the country. The Senate must include immigration relief in the Build Back Better Act.