Stevan Porter And Secretary Of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez Met Today To Discuss Immigration Reform
Washington, Stevan Porter, president of the Americas region of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world’s largest hotel group, and chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Governmental Affairs Committee, met today with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez to discuss comprehensive immigration reform. AH&LA and six other industries discussed the importance of restructuring the nation’s immigration laws to meet the dual goals of border and economic security.
In May, the U.S. Senate passed historic immigration reform legislation, S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006. This AH&LA-supported legislation would increase border security and enforcement and create a guest worker program that will allow access to foreign-born workers when no American workers can be found. For those currently working in the United States without documentation, the legislation would create a stringent identification and screening process, and for those who qualify, establish a rigorous process through which workers could earn the right to remain in the United States after being punished and fined.
In December 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an immigration bill that has no provisions for a guest worker program. In a highly unusual move, the House and Senate have not agreed to form a conference committee to work out their differences on the bills. Instead, both bodies of Congress have scheduled a series of field hearings throughout the country examining the need for immigration reform and proposed solutions.
“The House bill is unacceptable for the lodging industry because it ignores a crucial element of the problem,” said AH&LA Executive Vice President for Public Policy Marlene Colucci. “It fails to recognize the contributions of foreign-born workers to the U.S. economy and does not resolve the problem of undocumented workers. We support efforts to improve control of our nation’s borders. However, we will never truly have secure borders if we do not also address the desire of immigrants to come into our country to work and the need for these workers by the U.S. economy. Legislation that excludes this piece of the puzzle will not provide a real and permanent solution to securing our borders or to our economic needs. Congress must find a way to iron out the differences between the House and Senate bills. An adequate guest worker program is an absolute necessity to maintain our nation’s economic growth and secure our borders.”
According to AH&LA, the lodging industry employed 1,795,000 people in 2004. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 16.4 percent growth rate in hospitality jobs, requiring 304,200 additional employees by 2014. “Hoteliers cannot fill positions with the workforce that currently exists,” said Colucci. “Jobs are growing in the hospitality industry, and the workforce is shrinking.”
A recent national poll sponsored by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (the not-for-profit affiliate of AH&LA) found that more than 80 percent of registered voters want Congress to pass an immigration reform bill this year. More than seven in 10 voters surveyed said they would rather have Congress pass a bill that includes border security, employer enforcement, and a temporary worker program rather than pass no bill at all. To read the complete poll results, visit www.ahla.com.
Serving the hospitality industry for nearly a century, AH&LA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.
About InterContinental Hotels Group | InterContinental Hotels Group PLC of the United Kingdom [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is the world's largest hotel group by number of rooms. InterContinental Hotels Group owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, over 3,600 hotels and 537,500 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. The Group owns a portfolio of well recognized and respected hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites® and Hotel IndigoTM, and also manages the world's largest hotel loyalty program, Priority Club® Rewards.
InterContinental Hotels Group offers information and online reservations for all its hotel brands at www.ichotelsgroup.com and information for the Priority Club Rewards program at www.priorityclub.com.
Enica R. Thompson
Manager of Media Relations