Top U.S. policymakers pushing for a comprehensive deal on immigration took their case to Davos this week.
The troubled U.S. system has contributed both to violence at the border with Mexico as well as a worker shortage for businesses across the country.
Many CEOs would like to see more pathways for legal immigration, which they hope could alleviate the current 1.7 job openings for each unemployed person. But remarks Tuesday from the chief negotiators in Congress from both parties largely centered on border security, putting labor concerns on the back burner.
“We’re at a disadvantage because other countries have ways to import immigrant workers into their countries for big tech jobs, for working in restaurants,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said during a Yahoo Finance Live appearance. “We don't have that pathway — at least a big enough pathway."
This week's remarks — which took place over 6,000 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border and 4,000 miles from Washington — underlined some of the stark divides that will await negotiators when they return to the U.S. and try to find areas of bipartisan agreement next week.
Walsh, who has noted that the immigration system is one of the biggest threats to the US economy, suggested that the border problems need to be put in context.
“We have to separate the issues,” he said. “Deal with the southern border, but also really think about our economy and immigration.”
A Republican, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida, seconded Walsh's point during a panel conversation later in the day alongside three U.S. senators, two influential governors, and a fellow member of the House of Representatives.
“There’s no way that the United States can continue to be what it is, which is the most important power in the world and the number one economy in the world, if we don’t have hands,” Salazar said of increasing the workforce.
But Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) added that “you cannot have an immigration discussion unless you have border security.”
Co-panelist Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) was even more blunt, saying "my advice, take it for what it’s worth, is while we’re waiting [on a larger deal] just secure the dang border."
President Biden himself visited the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this month for the first time since taking office. The Biden administration also recently announced moves to tighten immigration enforcement against Cuban, Haitian and Nicaraguan migrants arriving at the border.
A key figure in the coming talks is Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who is also in Davos this week.
Sinema released an outline of an immigration plan with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) in 2022 before the clock ran out on the effort. The senators are vowing to bring the issue back in 2023, with Sinema saying she's helping to build a bipartisan coalition to pass legislation this year with things hinging on border issues.
“The key is to create a system where we get to choose as a nation who we will invite into the country and who we will not,” she said, adding that right now “the cartels are choosing.”
But the challenge of getting anything passed through the GOP-controlled House of Representatives was also evident.
Sinema recalled the bitter fight this year among Republicans to select Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as House speaker. McCarthy, she said, "had to concede point after point after point to the radical right of the GOP to a point where he is now in an unenviable position” to confront difficult issues in the months ahead like the debt ceiling and possibly immigration.
Many far-right Republicans, who now wield outsized influence after the negotiations with McCarthy, are likely to campaign against any bipartisan immigration deal as "amnesty."
Summing things up, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) noted: “We have a balance we need to strike between having a secure border and being a nation to which people come to seek dignity and redemption and a chance at freedom.”
“That’s a tough balance," he said, "but I’m hopeful that we can achieve that."
Ben Werschkul is Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.
Click here for politics news related to business and money
Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance
Download the Yahoo Finance app for Apple or Android
Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, and YouTube
Freezing and hard freezing temps on the way
Mexico’s former top security official is facing trial in the United States, accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa cartel in order to protect El Chapo.
Here are the top three stories in politics to watch this week as the world's elite gather in Davos, Switzerland.
Footage shows Texas officials arresting three separate smugglers attempting to bring migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, with one armed smuggler attempting to flee on foot.
The four Hip-Hop legends hit the White House to celebrate the Warriors latest NBA Championship.
Former Mexican security minister Genaro García Luna is on trial in Brooklyn, accused of taking bribes from 'El Chapo' Guzmán's Sinaloa drug cartel.
After one of the worst years for tech stocks in recent memory, tech companies are about to detail exactly how good — or, more likely, how bad — their holiday seasons were.
Yahoo Finance Live anchors Julie Hyman and Brian Sozzi recap the first couple of days at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and what they're hearing from CEOs, economists, and other leaders at the event.
U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh joins Yahoo Finance Live from the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss global challenges, inflation, the state of the economy, labor participation, immigration, and the outlook for 2023.
Europe’s grand plan to regain its lost leadership in technology and build a world-beating industry of semiconductor chips is running into serious trouble.
Carbon Health had to slow its growth in response to a cooler market for health care investment this year.
There is no better vehicle for creating generational wealth than investing in stocks. While over short periods of time one asset class or another may outperform stocks, the long-term results prove that if you want to accumulate large amounts of wealth, investing in stocks is the way to go. A Deutsche Bank study showed that over the past 100 years, equities beat out gold by 5.6% per year, housing prices by 6.6%, Treasuries by 6.8%, and oil by 8.4% per year.
The sky's not always the limit. AP Photo/Susan WalshRepublicans and Democrats are again preparing to play a game of chicken over the U.S. debt ceiling – with the nation’s financial stability at stake. The Treasury Department on Jan. 13, 2023, said it expects the U.S. to hit the current debt limit of US.38 trillion on Jan. 19. After that, the government will take “extraordinary measures” – which could extend the deadline until May or June – to avoid default. But it’s not clear whether Republicans
Northern California is drying out on Tuesday, but flooding continues to impact San Joaquin County. Highway 99 remains closed in both directions between Peltier Road north of Acampo and Turner Road in Lodi as crews work to remove floodwaters from the roadway. More here:
On Aug. 16, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, directing billions of dollars to Americans looking to upgrade their homes, businesses and cars. One provision of the law allows Americans making less than $150,000 a year to claim a $7,500 tax credit for buying an electric car. The law also provides $9 billion in rebates to help people electrify their home appliances and make their houses more energy-efficient. It’s also allowing Americans to claim a tax credit for inst
The U.S. debt limit is nearing and Congress has until Thursday to raise it. If it fails to, your investments could take a big hit.
Stock indexes fell Wednesday, as investors parsed the latest batch of corporate earnings and economic data on producer prices and retail sales.
These tax credits come with a more certain fate.
Economist Nouriel Roubini speaks on the headwinds facing the markets in 2023 from the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. You can see the entire interview hereKey Video Takeaways: 00:50: There's already a massive disconnect between markets and the Fed01:13: Both the Fed & market will be surprised on how sticky inflation is gonna b
Concord/Handout via ReutersA former commander of Russia’s notorious Wagner Group has fled to Norway and begun spilling the group’s most closely guarded secrets—a move that could ultimately be the downfall of mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.Three days after Andrei Medvedev fled across the frozen Pasvik River into Norway—under gunfire from Russia’s FSB border guards, according to him—Prigozhin confirmed the former commander was one of his men.But his response was both laughable and telling.“Be ca