Immigrants Could Play Key Role in Economic Recovery in Cleveland, Heart: Joe Cimperman

CLEVELAND – Every week I get calls from regional farms, restaurants and manufacturing companies, the owners of which are in desperate need of workers. It’s a long-standing problem, but one that has resurfaced as businesses try to reopen.

I’m the president of Global Cleveland, a non-profit organization that connects international newcomers with local employment opportunities. But I can’t be a job matchmaker without employees.

In recent years, the number of foreign-born workers coming to our shores has fallen. This is the result of a record ceiling on refugees and a visa freeze, but also xenophobic policies that have pushed international students and other talented immigrants into the arms of other countries.

The result? Population stagnation, reduced workforce and local businesses forced to downsize or shut down.

The leaders of our nation can fix these problems. The House of Representatives recently passed two key bills, which would help secure our economic recovery: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which paves the way for citizenship for long-serving undocumented farm workers, and the Dream and Promise Act, which would pave the way for citizenship. for Dreamers and holders of Temporary Protection Status.

This legislation will not become law without the support of 10 Senate Republicans. This is why I argue before Congress from the heart of America. Ohio businesses are desperate, but I can’t help them without you.

Joe Cimperman is the president of Global Cleveland.

Our farm labor crisis affects Americans every day. Undocumented immigrants are about half of 1 million field crop workers nationwide, including large percentages in Ohio. But four years of anti-immigrant policies have lowered the supply of migrant labor, while visa caps and red tape prevent farmers from legally sponsoring foreign workers.

A family farmer recently told me that he leaves half of his cultivable land fallow due to lack of labor. He says none of the job fairs, advertisements, or recruiting organizations found reliable Americans.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would allow farmers to pay workers a living wage and have year-to-year staff continuity, which every business owner needs to prosper.

We need the Dream and Promise Act for the same reason.

Ohio businesses love their Dreamer employees. But these young people, who were brought to America as children, have no long-term security.

Many have temporary work permits under the DACA, but under the last administration, employers never knew if these workers were in danger of being deported.

Ohio Dreamers grew up here and is fluent in English and American culture. They also regularly fill industry shortages, such as hospitality and manufacturing. About 62,000 Dreamers work in health care and about half work in essential areas, according to the new American economy. I see many Ohio Dreamers becoming entrepreneurs, creating jobs, and growing the economy across the state. They deserve permanent protection.

Passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the Dream and Promise Act would fuel the recovery and do good to the millions of people who make substantial contributions alongside us. It would also restore our global image. More and more, the immigrants who can still come here don’t want to.

American colleges and universities have seen decline in new international listings every year since 2016. Highly skilled workers are flock to Canada. With our rapid aging of the population and slowing demographic growth, we need that talent.

Decades of research show that diversity drives innovation and growth. One hundred years ago, immigrants from around the world helped Cleveland become an economic powerhouse.

Growing up a Catholic, I learned that language barriers destroyed ancient Babylon. But here we have seen the opposite. At the start of the 20th century, almost half of the city spoke a mother tongue other than English.

Three great institutions emerged from this historic era: the Cleveland Foundation, a philanthropic pillar, with $ 2.6 billion in assets; the City Club of Cleveland, an international bastion of free speech; and our network of award-winning parks nationwide.

To revive Cleveland as a leader in innovation and cultivator of a vibrant mainstreet life, we must welcome immigrants. With the help of Congress, I will no longer have to turn down business owners.

Joe Cimperman is the president of Global Cleveland.

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