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North Carolina professor speaks on immigration laws

Known for its world-renowned academic achievements, the North Carolina Research Triangle produces advancements in social and natural sciences through its exemplary universities. Although professors at local institutions are often recognized for their research work, they also contribute to the national dialogue on social issues, such as immigration laws. Their insights into how immigration reform may impact the future American workforce may be influential regarding proposed laws.

A recent leadership forum in Durham brought a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill business professor together with other members of the local business community to discuss the realities of immigration in the United States. While the professor explained that illegal immigration into the country happens through a variety of ways, such as tourism and students studying abroad, he also noted that the national population is aging due to lower rates of birth and people living longer. The professor further indicated that the country will need to do something to maintain a vital workforce population.

The president of a large landscaping company echoed similar sentiments during the forum. Acknowledging that his company utilizes the federal H-2B visa program to bring non-resident workers into the country, the company president stated that his business simply cannot fill open positions with citizen workers because of a lack of interest in such work. Although his company is required to subsidize housing for its non-resident workers, he noted that when his company has been unable to hire H-2B workers, the business had suffered.

Immigration into the United States can provide many opportunities for individuals hoping to lead better lives, but through the reports of this leadership forum, the nation as a whole may also benefit from recognizing the value of non-resident workers. As the state and nation continue work toward immigration law reform, it will be interesting to see if the opinions expressed at the local leadership forum are captured in the new laws.

Source: The Herald-Sun, "Leadership Triangle forum focuses on immigration, economy," Laura Oleniacz, May 8, 2013

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