4/8/13 - Ray Marshall Speaks at the LBJ School

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Ray Marshall, former Secretary of Labor under President Carter and founder and namesake of our research center, spoke to a packed house at the LBJ School on Wednesday, April 3rd. The event was entitled, Adopting a Skill-Based Immigration Policy for the US: Promise and Prospects, and was sponsored by the Ray Marshall Center and the LBJ School’s Public Affairs Alliance for Communities of Color (PAACC).

Introduced at the event by RMC Director Chris King, Secretary Marshall spoke of the need for immigration policy in the United States to shift from a family-based to a skills-based immigration policy.  Marshall said that for decades US leadership has approached the immigration debate as a law enforcement issue, while other OECD countries adjusted their immigration laws to accommodate demands in the workforce.

According to Marshall, once US leadership recognizes that immigration is an economic policy issue, the country can focus its efforts on developing policies that consider the economic needs of the country, while providing legal status and workers rights to immigrants.  Marshall explained that international wage competition should not be used as an excuse to lower salaries and avoid employee training for workers.

Marshall has been at the forefront of this debate in recent years, as his policy ideas have gained traction. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), co-founded by Dr. Marshall, recently discussed how he has influenced the debate, referring to his 2009 book Immigration for Shared Prosperity; A Framework for Comprehensive Reform. The EPI article cites this work as a contributing source for an important agreement between the AFL-CIO and the US Chamber of Commerce to establish a foreign worker program.

Immigration reform is expected to be enacted in 2013 in no small part due to the continuing efforts by Secretary Marshall to bring the key stakeholders together.

Ray Marshall Center

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