Chamber's Donohue: Trump, Congress need to 'figure it out' on immigration

Chamber's Donohue: Trump, Congress need to 'figure it out' on immigration
© Greg Nash

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue on Thursday called on the Trump administration and Congress to “figure it out” on immigration.

“Today we are calling on the president and Congress to come together and support a reasonable solution: Protection for the Dreamers and long-term Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries and the resources necessary to secure the border," he said during the annual "State of American Business" address to the advocacy group. "The Chamber will continue to fight for these and other reforms."

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He also stressed that the U.S. workforce needs improvement.

“The fact is, employers don’t have the workers they need at every skill level, and in key industries – such as health care, agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation,” Donohue said. “Our nation must continue to attract and welcome industrious and innovative people from all over the world, and finally fix our broken immigration system.”

Donohue acknowledged that the issue of immigration is “politically fraught” and “passions [are] running high on both sides,” but he highlighted the need for compromise.

Speaking at a press conference after the speech he said the administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to step up and find a solution.

“The people who have the responsibly to figure this out ought to figure it out," he told reporters. "We need this done and we’ll do whatever we can to be helpful. We’re not picking one horse out of the pack. We’ll take the whole herd.”

Donohue made no mention of the partial government shutdown, which is now in its 20th day, or a potential border wall in his speech.

“You notice I didn’t use the world wall," he later told reporters. "I don’t really know. Is it a wall? Is it a fence?"

"It’s a very, very complex issue,” he added.

The Chamber sent a letter to Congress on Tuesday calling for an end to the shutdown. The group's chief policy officer, Neil Bradley, wrote that the Chamber favors a solution to combine border security and protections for immigrant groups, which Donohue echoed on Thursday.