Senator Johnson Unveils New State-Based Visa Pilot Program

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, unveiled a new state-based visa pilot program Wednesday that would allow states to tailor guest worker programs to meet their individual workforce needs. He was joined by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) who plans to introduce a version of the bill in the House of Representatives.  

“We have a shortage of workers in all different areas of the economy. We need to recognize that a one-size-fits-all federal model for visas or guest workers doesn’t work. Let the states manage the visas, allocate them to the industries that need the workers, set prevailing wage rates. I think states would do a better job of protecting their state workers—American workers—as well as making sure their industries have the people they need to be able to grow,” Sen. Johnson said in remarks about his bill Tuesday.

Sen. Johnson’s bill, introduced Wednesday, has a broad coalition of support and has been endorsed by:

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Bipartisan Policy Center
  • National Foundation for American Policy
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • Marron Institute of Urban Management
  • American Dairy Coalition
  • WIB Agri-Business Coalition
  • Outdoor Amusement Business Association
  • National Roofing Contractors Association
  • ImmigrationWorks USA
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Compete America
  • Cooperative Network
  • National Association of Home Builders
  • South Dakota Dairy Producers
  • Professional Dairy Managers of PA
  • Oregon Dairy Farmers Association

The full text of the State Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017 can be found here.

Sen. Johnson’s remarks on the bill at a Cato Institute event Wednesday can be found here.