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POLITICS: PennAve

Immigration report irks some Hill Republicans

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Politics,Congress,Betsy Woodruff,Immigration,PennAve,Boeing,Microsoft

A report arguing for the need for more low-skilled immigrants has irked some Republican congressmen.

At issue is a paper released last month called “A crucial piece of the puzzle: Demographic change and why immigrants are needed to fill America's less-skilled labor gap.” It was prepared for Partnership for a New American Economy, a group whose co-chairmen include the CEOs of Microsoft, Disney, Marriott and Boeing.

"Without industries like agriculture being fully staffed -- by immigrants or natives -- valuable growth opportunities are lost,” the report reads. “The same could be said for a variety of other industries -- from theme parks to landscaping."

In the weeks since its release, it has drawn ire from Hill conservatives.

“Their function is to make a profit,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said of businesses pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in the model of the Senate Gang of Eight plan. "If they can skew the labor markets by artificially importing large numbers of legal and illegal foreign workers, then they will do it, because they're profit-driven.”

Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana also expressed frustration with the report.

"Any talk of a shortage of workers must address the reality that there are nearly 18 million unemployed or underemployed Americans,” he said. “Likewise, any push for immigration reform must address the reality that the Obama administration is already selectively ignoring many current immigration laws.”

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