Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

October 10, 2013

Pushing immigration reform

Recently the pharmaceutical giant Merck announced it will cut 8,500 jobs in an effort to remain competitive in a rapidly changing drug industry. Earlier this year, Merck announced plans to cut 7,500 jobs, bringing the total of workers let go to 16,000. In all, Merck intends to lay off one out of every five of its employees.

At the same time, top Merck officials are urging Congress to loosen the nation’s immigration laws to allow more foreign workers into the United States. In a Sept. 10 letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Merck Executive Vice President for Human Resources Mirian Graddick-Weir urged that the U.S. admit more high- and low-skilled immigrants to “address the reality that there is a global war for talent” and to “align our nation’s immigration policies with its workforce needs at all skill levels to ensure U.S. global competitiveness.”

Merck, whose officials did not respond to requests for comment, wasn’t alone in signing the letter to Boehner and Pelosi. Other companies that have laid off thousands in recent years — Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, United Technologies, American Express, Procter & Gamble, T-Mobile, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Cigna, Texas Instruments and more — are also petitioning Congress for more immigrant workers. In all, representatives of more than 100 big U.S. corporations signed the letter.

On Capitol Hill, the lawmakers who are trying to stop a Gang of Eight-style comprehensive immigration reform bill believe most of those companies support reform because they want to hire immigrants at lower wages. Watching firms fire American workers while appealing for more immigration is a disheartening spectacle.

“Senate Democrats, the Gang of Eight and the White House have all apparently decided that large corporations should be able to tailor the nation’s immigration policy to suit their own financial interests,” said Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, a vocal Gang of Eight opponent, in a statement. “Now it falls on the shoulders of House Republicans to do the right thing and to defend the legitimate interests of American workers.”

Text Only
Opinion
  • Close the tax loophole that sends US corporations overseas Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed word. At the same time, the system has become full of inef

    July 29, 2014

  • Israel and the U.S.: Whose survival instinct is stronger? There’s something darkly coincidental in the fact that the latest weapon to be deployed against the survival instinct of both Israel and the United States is an alleged “heartlessness” when it comes to children. The people of Israel are castigated in

    July 29, 2014

  • College cost isn't big problem for poor students To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting mo

    July 29, 2014

  • Ducks, geese a blessing I would like to respond to the “Geese and ducks causing problems in Veterans Park” article that was published in the Mt. Vernon Register-News on July 16, 2014. I must share that I do understand that at times there have been a great number of the Cana

    July 29, 2014

  • Money not always the answer I really have to stop and think sometimes. I challenge my thought processes when I write these columns. I am having a hard time with this one. It appears to me that every time a governmental agency or any of the entities that spend other people’s mon

    July 29, 2014

  • Teachers unions' destructive behavior You can always count on the national teachers unions to behave badly at their annual conventions, and they certainly didn’t let us down this month. In doing so, however, they let down many of their members, along with students who are working hard to

    July 26, 2014

  • Workers of the world, curb your ambitions A group of Democrats introduced legislation this week to protect low-paid shift workers from last-minute changes in their schedules. The idea fits into an intriguing category of economic activism: Not trying to lift low-paid workers out of poverty, n

    July 26, 2014

  • State of the reunion ‘Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 26, 2014

  • Fear indifference ‘Perhaps the Catholic church would volunteer to pony up some cash for the illegals’ care then? Hmm?”“Pope should stay out of it. Matter of civil laws, not church laws.”“Thinking that the pope should want the illegals to go to Argentina to get better

    July 25, 2014

  • A push for felon voting rights If advocates have their way, voting rights could be a new reality for the nation’s incarcerated.Full voting rights for felons is as hot a topic in Washington as voting rights in reverse pushed by voter-ID-tickled Republicans. But with new legislation

    July 25, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks