No matter how the debate over immigration policy turns out in Washington, the American Hotel & Lodging Association has done a good job in conveying the hotel industry's position on this complicated issue. Last month, several AH&LA members were able to sit down with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, presidential advisor Karl Rove and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez to discuss the importance of immigrant labor to the hotel business.

Among those meeting with the officials was Cindy Clark, director of human resources at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO. Like many resorts away from large population centers, The Broadmoor has difficulty filling all of its employee openings, even though it hires some through the H2-B seasonal immigrant worker program.

“Comprehensive immigration reform, including a sensible guest-worker program, is the only long-term, practical solution that will ensure that businesses like ours can hire enough workers to continue providing the high-quality services our guests demand,” Clark told President Bush, who has endorsed expansion of temporary work eligibility.

Earlier this month, the White House reinforced its position in the immigration debate with Congress by issuing a Statement of Administration Policy that embraces that proposal, as well as others backed by AH&LA, including:

  • provisions that raise the annual limits on legal immigrants,

  • adoption of an employment eligibility verification system that doesn't overly burden employers,

  • tools employers can use to quickly and accurately verify worker eligibility and

  • provide safe harbor to those employers who in good faith comply with the law.

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