Las Vegas business leaders discuss helping immigrants get jobs amid shortages

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Combatting job shortages means hiring more people, but it isn’t that easy, especially for immigrants who make up one-fifth of Nevada’s labor force.

Antonio Munoz, owner of 911 Taco Bar and Catering knows the struggles immigrants face all too well. His mom came to the U.S. in the 1980’s. Through amnesty, she was able to obtain her citizenship.

“I’ve also had other family members here for 20 to 30 years that have been working and contributing back to the community, paying taxes, and until recently were able to establish some type of residency here and lived their American dream but it took them over 20 years,” Munoz remarked.

It’s one of the reasons why Munoz took part in a roundtable table discussion Tuesday morning with other business leaders on how to strengthen our workforce by hiring more people including immigrants.

“This discussion was important, it made me realize of all the job opportunities that are still out there that are not being filled especially in the construction community,” Munoz added.

New home builds may be helpful in decreasing home prices, but job vacancies have impacted the construction workforce.

“Recent numbers in 2024, we have sold around 800 homes with 6,000 Californians moving here and that’s not even the demand from Nevadans moving around so a severe supply and demand problem,” Amanda Moss, senior director of government affairs for the Southern Nevada Homebuilders Association explained.

Moss said one of the solutions is helping workers obtain employment authorization and access work opportunities all while calling on local government leaders to make administrative changes to help migrants.

“Immigrants or first or second generation folks that live here, they work hard and they’re ready to work,” Moss said. “Construction isn’t easy, swinging a hammer or banging on a roof in the dead of summer is a difficult position so our members do what they can to attract a qualified workforce and make these jobs enticing to talks and a lot of our labor is from the immigrant population.”

James O’Neill, political director from the American Business Immigration Coalition is hoping the president will expand more on the parole employment program, which allows noncitizens to work legally.

“The President of the United States has the ability and the authority to expand workforce authorization through a mechanism called Parole. Currently, there are 1.1 million undocumented spouses of American Citizens, these are folks without legal work authorization in the United States who have a us citizen spouse. Most people think when you marry a U.S. citizen you get your papers and you’re able to apply for a green card. For most people that’s not the case,” O’Neill said. “The ultimate solutions to these problems that we’re facing is immigration reform, legislative immigration reform in the Congress. That’s why we’re looking at the president to use his authority to help solve this problem so we can set ourselves up for success.”

For more information on the Parole program, click here.

Original News Source Link – KLAS

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