The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) said a proposed immigration bill that would limit low- and unskilled workers from entering the United States would cut in half legal immigration over the next decade.
The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act would implement a system that awards more points to skilled individuals, including those with higher English proficiency and education as well as past work histories, the chamber said.
The chamber underscored the significance of immigrant professional presence in Arizona’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields in addition to agriculture, reporting that immigrants account for over 17 percent of the state’s STEM jobs even though immigrants are 13.7 percent of the Arizona population.
STEM career positions are growing 37 percent more rapidly than other sectors in the U.S. economy and those fields are expected to become even more vital to the nation’s growth, the chamber said.
“We understand the need for highly skilled workers and are working diligently right now to create, attract and train the workforce businesses tell us they need,” GPCC President and CEO Todd Sanders said in a release. “However, any immigration reform plan must be broad enough to consider important industries such as Arizona’s agricultural industry, which contributes $2.5 billion annually to Arizona’s GDP.”