Educational Programs and Videos

In an effort to understand the impact of immigration on the American economy, the New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition has organized a series of educational programs on a a variety of topics. Many of these programs have been organized by the Garden State Immigration Policy Institute, a joint initiative of the Coalition and the NJ Business & Industry Association. Descriptions and videos of these programs are found on this page.

Exploring the Vital Role of Immigrants
in the New Jersey Healthcare Sector

In a special program on December 5, 2023, the Coalition took an in-depth look at the role of immigrants in the healthcare sector. The people of New Jersey greatly benefit from the labor and skills of immigrants, who make up almost 30% of all healthcare positions in the state, including 41% if physicians, 30.2% of surgeons, and 29.7% of registered nurses. Immigrants are also a huge presence among worker in the direct care industry. Without this infusion of immigrant talent and labor in New Jersey’s hospitals, clinics, labs, and nursing homes, the quality of healthcare in the state would take a disturbing turn for the worse.

Even more striking, evidence seems to suggest that the need for immigrant labor in the healthcare sector will intensify in the years ahead. Between 2012 and 2022, over 1 million jobs were added nationally to the healthcare sector. By 2032, there will be another 1 million new jobs. This growth will occur at a time when the domestic workforce is static or shrinking and the senior population is soaring.

In order to understand the policy implications of these developments, the Coalition assembled a panel of representatives of five healthcare organizations in New Jersey: the New Jersey Homecare and Hospice Association, the New Jersey Hospital Association, St. Peter’s Healthcare system, William Paterson University (Nursing Department), and the immigration law firm of Meyner & Landis. Panel members discussed the role of immigrants within their organizations and what needs to be done to facilitate immigrant entry into the healthcare sector in the future.

The Coalition also recruited speakers from three national organizations engaged in research on health-related workforce issues: the American Immigration Council, the Niskanen Center, and World Education services. Based on the information and recommendations that were shared during the program, the Coalition has drafted a set of immigration reforms that will help to maintain the availability and quality of healthcare in New Jersey.

The 90-minute program was sponsored by the St. Peter's Healthcare System and the immigration law firm of Meyner and Landis.

Will the U.S. continue to attract the world’s top student talent?

One of the great accomplishments of U.S. higher education has been its ability to attract top student talent from all over the world. Whether international students remain in the U.S. after finishing their studies or return home, they have gained remarkable distinction as innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders in their respective fields. They also often serve as strong advocates for democratic values in their home countries.Maintaining U.S. leadership in this important area, especially in the face of growing competition from other industrialized nations and troubling declines in international student enrollment in the U.S., was the theme of the May 11, 2023, program of the Garden State Immigration Policy Institute.Featured speakers included Stuart Anderson, Executive Director of the National Foundation for American Policy, and Miriam Feldblum, Director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a national coalition of more than 500 college and university presidents interested in advancing effective immigration policies. The program also included a  panel of speakers from five New Jersey colleges and universities: Gokhan Alkanat, Associate Provost for International Education, Rowan University; Amparo Codding, Professor and International Student Advisor, Bergen Community College; Eric (Rick) Garfunkel, Vice President for Global Affairs, Rutgers University; Elizabeth A. Gill, Director of International Employment & Immigration, Montclair State University; and Katsumi Kishida, Assoc. Director of International Students and Scholars, Kean University and current chair of NAFSA Region X (New York & New Jersey).

The 90-minute program was sponsored by CGI, one of the largest IT and business consulting services in the world, and the Genova Burns law firm.

The Urgent Need for Temporary Foreign Workers in New Jersey’s Economy

Labor force shortages have adversely affected many industries in New Jersey. Many of these industries rely on temporary foreign workers to fill positions that are seasonal or short-term in nature. The U.S. has three main programs to meet this need: H-2A for agricultural workers, H-2B for non-agricultural seasonal work, and J-1 for exchange students. The programs are premised on the lack of availability of American workers to fill these positions. Among the industries most reliant on temporary labor are: agriculture, meatpacking, dairy farming, travel and tourism, restaurants, landscaping, and construction.Although these programs are intended to fill an important gap in the U.S. labor market, their shortcomings were apparent during the discussion that took place at the December 1, 2022, program of the Garden State Immigration Policy Institute (The Institute is a joint initiative of the NJ Business Immigration Coalition and the NJ Business and Industry Association.).Keynote speakers included David Bier, Associate Director of Immigration studies at the Cato Institute, and Theresa Cardinal Brown, Managing Director of Immigration Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Panel members included:  Anthony Catanoso, CEO of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City; Laurie-Ann Flanagan, Co-Chair of the national H-2B Coalition; Peter Furey, CEO of the NJ Farm Bureau;  and Lori Jenssen, Executive Director of the NJ Nursery and Landscape Association. The program moderator was Dr. Nicholas V. Montalto, Chair of the Coalition Steering Committee, and the panel moderator was Pat McGovern, Partner at the law firm of Genova Burns and member of the Coalition Steering Committee.David Bier began the program by presenting data on the numbers of temporary work visas issued to New Jersey employers over the last decade, showing sharp rises in the number of H-2A and H-2B visas. David pointed out, however, that these workers, unlike other temporary workers, such as H-1B’s, do not have a pathway to permanent residence.Panelists discussed the strengths and the weaknesses of existing temporary worker programs. All agreed that the availability of such workers created jobs for American workers, but that the number of visas was insufficient to meet current need.  Panelists also discussed a number of problems associated with each of the programs, including processing delays, excessive wage rates, artificial caps on visa issuance, and the inability to bring workers back for another year of service.In her concluding remarks, Theresa Cardinal Brown emphasized the vital importance of balancing competing interests in setting policy in this area. While it’s important, for example, to eliminate bad actors from participating in these programs, regulations should not be so onerous that they discourage employers from applying in the first place. Otherwise, they may turn to undocumented workers, rather than legal ones. She also emphasised the importance of doing something rather than nothing at all. It has been over 30 years since Congress has passed major immigration legislation. Other countries, she pointed out, are fine-tuning their immigration policies on an annual basis. Rather than continuing to pursue the elusive goal of so-called comprehensive immigration reform, Congress should act on specific measures as quickly as possible and do it in a bipartisan manner.

The 90-minute program was sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of the Land Improvement Contractors Association (NJ LICA).

The Role of Immigration in Easing Labor Shortages in New Jersey

This inaugural virtual event of the Garden State Immigration Policy Institute, a joint project of the NJ Business Immigration Coalition and the NJ Business and Industry Association, was held on June 16, 2022. The purpose of the event was to unravel the connection between immigration policy and labor shortages, understand the immigrant needs of specific industries in New Jersey, and identify immigration policy reforms that would relieve labor shortages without having an adverse impact on American workers.Keynote speaker for the event was Muzaffar Chishti, Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC, the largest non-partisan immigration think tank in the country. Mr. Chishti also heads up the New York Office of MPI at New York University. A second featured speaker was Jon Baselice, Vice President of Immigration Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who analyzed prospects for immigration reform in the current Congress and offered comments on the panel discussion which followed Mr. Chishti’s talk.Panel members included: Tamar Frolichstein-Appel, Senior Employment Services Associate, Upwardly Global; Elizabeth Gill, Director of International Employment and Migration, Montclair State University; Lori Jenssen, Director, NJ Nursery and Landscape Association; and Aaron Price, CEO of TechUnited.
The 90-minute program was sponsored by Genova Burns LLC.

Coalition holds event with the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce to mark the release of a report on the impact of immigration in Mercer County

A new report commissioned by the Coalition in partnership with the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Mercer County Office of Economic Development, underscores the critical role immigrants play in the County’s labor force, business creation, and STEM innovation. Prepared by New American Economy, the report was unveiled at the July 1, 2021, virtual membership meeting of the Princeton Chamber.Between 2014 and 2019 the Mercer County population decreased by 0.4 percent, while the immigrant population grew by 9.8 percent. Without growth in the immigrant population, the total population in Mercer County would have decreased even more, by 2.5 percent. In 2019 alone, immigrants in Mercer County held $2.8 billion in spending power, and paid over $916 million in federal taxes and $415 million in state and local taxes. Despite making up 23.1 percent of the area’s overall population, immigrants represent 43.4 percent of construction workers, 43.2 percent of manufacturing workers, and 39.3 percent of professional service workers.Joining Chamber President Hal English and NJBIC members at the event, and offering comments on the report, were County Executive Brian Hughes, New American Economy Executive Director Jeremy Robbins, and Dr. Jianping Wang, President of Mercer County Community College. The Event was chaired by Anthony Carabelli, Jr., Director of the Mercer County Office of Economic Development.

Opening the International Talent and Labor Pipeline: Strategies for Reforming American Immigration Policy to Advance New Jersey’s Economy

How can immigration policy promote economic recovery and growth in New Jersey? What is the current state of play in Washington on immigration reform? How can we revive a bipartisan consensus on immigration? These were some of the questions addressed by panelists at an event on April 30, 2021, organized by the NJ Business Immigration Coalition in partnership with the NJ Business and Industry Association. The keynote speaker for the event was Jorge Lima, Senior Vice-president of Policy at Americans for Prosperity. Panel members were Vicki Clark, President of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce; Ali Bokhaari, Global Mobility Manager, Unilever Corporation; Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration; Neil Dornbaum, Partner and Co-Chair, Corporate Immigration & Global Mobility, Connell-Foley; Theresa Cardinal Brown, Managing Director, Immigration and Cross-Border Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center; and Lori Jenssen, Executive Director of the NJ Nursery & Landscape Association.

NJBIA Presentation Reviews the current status of the H-1B Program and prospects for change in the Biden administration

The NJ Business and Industry Association, a member of the NJ Business Immigration Coalition, sponsored an online briefing on immigration policy at a meeting of its Human Resource Council on February 4. Two experienced immigration lawyers, Neil Dornbaum and Kathleen Peregoy, from the Roseland-based law firm of Connell Foley, reviewed actions taken by the Trump administration and prospects for policy changes during the Biden administration. The presenters focused a great deal of their attention on the future of the H-1B program, the program that allows U.S. businesses to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.The Trump administration made over 400 significant changes to immigration rules over the past four years and the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 “supersized many of these immigration policies,” Dornbaum said. “It really gave the (Trump) administration an opening in the name of public health and the concern for the growing economic crisis to finish off those last items that the administration had not been able to achieve…those include the suspension of visas to certain categories of both immigrants and nonimmigrants, effectively ending the asylum at the southern border, attacking the F-1 foreign student category… and implementing restrictive policies on the H-1B program,” Dornbaum said.Although some Trump administration’s policies are likely to remain in effect for the foreseeable future, the Biden administration has used executive orders to make some changes, including delaying the Trump administration rule to replace the H-1B visa selection lottery with a wage-based allocation system.  The rule was finalized in the waning days of the Trump administration and would have prioritized the highest paid foreign professionals in the H-1B program temporary visa lottery, making it more difficult to for small and mid-sized companies to hire the workers they need in 2021, particularly in the STEM field.The delay of the rule’s implementation until Dec. 31 means that the existing lottery system will remain in place for this year’s H-1B cap season that starts next month. “What’s important to note is that as the Trump administration has done, the Biden administration is undoing with these executive orders,” Peregoy said. “But what the effect is for this year with the H-1B cap coming up for March is that either everything has been suspended, it will be the subject of future rulemaking, or it’s been rolled back. “

Immigration in New Jersey: New Ideas and Fresh Perspectives

On October 15, 2020, the NJ Business Immigration Coalition in partnership with Einstein’s Alley and the NJ Business and Industry Association sponsored a virtual mini-conference on immigration in New Jersey. The event was held in conjunction with the 8th annual immigrant entrepreneur of the year awards ceremony. Our keynote speaker was Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of New American Economy. Panel members included Rashaad Bajwa, CEO of Domain Computer Services: Ali Bokhari, Global Mobility Manager, Unilever Corporation; and Pat McGovern, Partner, Genova-Burns. Dr. Nicholas V. Montalto, NJBIC Coordinator, served as moderator.

Presidents’ Alliance Briefing on Proposed Regulations Governing International Students

The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, which counts 16 New Jersey colleges and universities as members, sponsored this briefing on October 7, 2020, on the exclusionary and harmful effects of proposed new regulations governing the admission and duration of status of international students and scholars. The briefing was co-sponsored by World Education Services. Among the featured speakers were Stuart Anderson, Executive director of the Foundation for American Policy and Lori W. White, President of DePauw University.

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