Employers should prepare for immigration reform

USI Immigration reformWhite House officials are planning to address immigration reform during the summer and may even grant work permits to the potential millions of undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States without authorization, according to recent reports from Associated Press.  Lawmakers and advocates with close ties to the Obama administration say that the president may act to allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the country without the fear of deportation.

There would be a significant impact on employers in the United States if such a large-scale move on immigration was effectuated, not to mention on employment laws regarding these formerly-undocumented individuals.  There are currently believed to be around 11.5 million such immigrants in the country.

Late last month President Obama made the announcement that attempts by Congress to fix the country’s broken immigration system were dead and that he intended to achieve whatever reform he could through the use of his own executive authority.  White House officials ‒ including homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson, White House counsel Neil Eggleston and Cecilia Munoz, the domestic policy council director ‒ have been working to come up with a plan for executive action that Obama could take to legalize undocumented immigrants.

The US Chamber of Commerce has said that it is investigating what steps Obama could take to help the business community with its labor needs, which is why employers need to be closely watching presidential activity until Obama acts.  If immigration reform does come, the employment and labor community will need to prepare for big changes.