With National Association of Manufacturers, Sinema Discusses How Commonsense Solutions to the Border and Immigration Crisis Can Help Solve Workforce Challenges

Apr 24, 2023

Senator highlighted her bipartisan proposal to address the immigration and border security challenges facing Arizona 

PHOENIX – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema held a roundtable focused on finding solutions to ongoing workforce shortages and challenges with the National Association of Manufacturers and local manufacturing companies.
During the discussion, Sinema highlighted how she’s laser-focused on delivering real, lasting solutions to the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis at the Southwest border – which she emphasized will relieve ongoing workforce challenges.
“As I travel across Arizona, I hear from employers of all sizes about the challenges they face filling jobs – this is especially true in the manufacturing sector. That is why I’ve been hard at work identifying realistic solutions,” said Sinema. 
“The majority of Americans agree that the United States has a broken and unreliable immigration system, and our industry is united in the belief that this broken system is harming manufacturers’ competitiveness. With nearly 700,000 open jobs in manufacturing today and millions to fill this decade, immigration must be part of the solution,” said Jay Timmons, CEO of National Association of Manufacturers. “We must stay true to the values that have made America exceptional and kept manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity, and that requires a functioning immigration system that address economy needs, as well as security and humanitarian concerns. Today’s discussion is an important step in the path toward building consensus for advancing immigration reforms, and we thank the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Senator Sinema for their leadership.”
“Mercury was delighted to host Senator Sinema and global technology manufacturing leaders for this important conversation,” said Tom Smelker, Mercury’s Vice President and General Manager of Microsystems. “The vast majority of advanced semiconductor packaging is done in southeast Asia today, and the United States recognizes the need for more secure domestic capacity. But our skilled labor workforce is constrained, and we need a faster path to bring in more talent.”
Sinema spoke about how the significant labor shortage impacts the manufacturing industry, and expressed support for the H-2B visa program that helps ease the strain on employers. Last year, Sinema called on the Administration to release an additional 35,000 H-2B visas for the second half of fiscal year 2022 and more than 64,000 additional visas for fiscal year 2023. This action helped Arizona employers who depend on seasonal workers to meet their staffing needs.
Focusing on solutions, Sinema detailed her bipartisan proposal with Republican Senator Thom Tillis to reform the employment visa system to solve workforce challenges and ensure our nation’s global competitiveness; fuel investments in Border Patrol Agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations Officers; improve control of the border through increased enforcement, technology, resources, and more; modernize the asylum system; and establish a pathway for legal citizenship for roughly 2 million Dreamers who were brought to this country when they were children through no fault of their own.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) supported Sinema’s bipartisan infrastructure law – which puts thousands of skilled Arizonans to work building rail lines, roads, bridges, and restoring Arizona’s crumbling infrastructure. 
Last year, Sinema met with NAM to discuss how her bipartisan Chips and Science law positions Arizona to lead the next phase of American innovation and manufacturing. Sinema’s Chips and Science law provides more than $52 billion to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing, reduce reliance on foreign countries like China, and enhance the United States’ global competitiveness.