Peoria Public Radio News
5:45 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Immigration Laws Limit Hiring

More needs to be done to change the public perception on immigration reform. That's the message from a panel of business, religious and government officials that met in Peoria Thursday. The group wants to see the U.S. House pass the immigration reform measures passed earlier in the Senate.

Mark Peters is corporate counsel at Caterpillar. He says current immigration laws limit the company from hiring engineers from China and India because of federal caps. "We're stuck sometimes waiting a year and a half before we can hire new employees. So what we’d like to see is see that cap stay the same every year. Make it a demand based cap, and further make STEM, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates exempt from that cap."

Another common misconception discussed was that immigration reform would take jobs away from Americans. One farmer on the panel says additional immigrant labor creates secondary jobs to transport, pack and market food.