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Human Dignity, Labor Mobility Must Be on Leaders’ Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico meet today, compassionate, orderly border solutions and solving labor imbalances should be front and center. 

At the border, the approach the Biden administration announced last week includes some positive steps but also continues reliance on policies meant to turn away asylum seekers — some permanently. Requesting asylum is a right guaranteed under U.S. and international law. 

“In bringing order to the border, we need humane solutions that recognize migrants’ God-given dignity,” said Bishop Mark J. Seitz of the El Paso Diocese, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and a National Immigration Forum board member. “Congress and the administration must work together to extend and create immigration pathways that restore our humanitarian leadership and relieve pressures at the border.” 

Meanwhile, severe labor shortages are threatening the strong economies of the U.S. and Canada, while Mexico has a population willing to pursue labor opportunities abroad. In the U.S., job vacancies have consistently surpassed 10 million while the number of hires averages only 6 million. There are nearly twice as many openings as unemployed workers. 

“The leaders of the U.S., Mexico and Canada should cooperate to address each country’s workforce needs,” said Jennie Murray, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “Solutions such as increasing temporary visas or negotiating bilateral labor agreements can help address inflation and other challenges related to worker shortages. They also can be part of restoring compassion and order at the U.S. southern border.” 

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