CFGI was on the ground at the Republican National Convention (RNC) this week, joining our SHRM colleagues for a second RNC in a row. This year we focused on making the case to candidates for office, current members of Congress and opinion leaders for creating a 21st century workplace, one that ensures a competitive workforce – including a need for immigration reform.
On Day One (July 18), the GOP adopted its party platform. It addresses immigration issues by emphasizing the importance of the American worker and recognizing the “vital contribution” of legal immigrants who strengthen our economy and enable U.S. employers to compete with the rest of the world. Nominee Donald Trump has made it clear that American workers’ interests must be protected over the interests of foreign nationals seeking the same jobs.
In our view, the need for immigration reform has never been greater, and it remains a critical issue for employers and HR professionals who need a 21st century workplace to recruit and retain talent crucial to business operations. But because it is one of the more divisive issues this election, the difficulty of accomplishing reform has never been more challenging. That is the situation we face.
So what can we do? One crucial element emphasized by SHRM Board member Steve Browne, at the SHRM RNC member event, was that “we must all be evangelists for our profession.” For U.S. employers and HR professionals working to access talent they need in our outdated system, the duty to be an ambassador for reform is paramount to any chance of success.
That is why CFGI and SHRM have worked diligently at the RNC to be a voice for our members at a number of our strategic partner events. These events touched on important issues in the immigration debate – from a conversation about the importance of highly educated talent and future business entrepreneurs that one day may create tomorrow’s innovations at the Republican MainStreet Partnership’s GOP Urban Mayors Forum, to the Women2Women event, which called for greater science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and training for women.
Probably the most important moment of the week was provided by Dana Bash, Amanda Carpenter and Donna Brazile at the CNN breakfast event. These veteran journalists and political advisers reminded us that the largest hurdle we face in the quest to reform anything in Washington – including immigration – is the need for Congress to get “back to the basics of bipartisanship.” As CFGI and SHRM members count on foreign talent to fill critical skills gaps, it will take both political parties to move any significant immigration legislation forward during the next Congress and Administration.
At CFGI and SHRM, we look forward to encouraging that bipartisanship as we continue to be immigration reform ambassadors on behalf of you – our members – and your employers. We will now see how the Democrats address these issues at next week’s convention and ensure our message is elevated in Philadelphia.