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Beto O’Rourke pitches Texas visitor employee program — how would that work? – KXAN.com

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Questions on immigration kicked off Friday night’s debate between the top two candidates for Texas governor, and Democrat Beto O’Rourke urged a novel thought for the state he mentioned would assist create a “protected, authorized, orderly path for anybody who needs to return right here to work, to hitch household or to hunt asylum.”

O’Rourke mentioned he would love the state to arrange its personal visitor employee program, one thing immigration specialists mentioned solely the federal authorities has the authority to do now. He shared no specifics about what it could take to launch a brand new bureaucratic effort to primarily provide short-term visas to international staff.

“I’m going to work with native leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, to ensure that we have now a Texas-based visitor employee program,” O’Rourke mentioned Friday, “to alleviate shortages that we have now in our state for labor calls for and scale back inflation and handle provide chain points as properly.”

His campaign website’s immigration policy page states a visitor employee program for Texas “offers a authorized approach for migrants to fill labor shortages in key Texas industries like agriculture, oil and fuel, and manufacturing.”

In response to what O’Rourke proposed, Gov. Greg Abbott mentioned creating that sort of program would fall outdoors the scope of Texas governor.

“[O’Rourke] talked about this visitor employee program,” Abbott mentioned through the debate. “He might have finished that had he gained the race for the Senate or gained the race for president. That’s not a job for governor. The job of governor is should take care of the chaos brought on by the Biden administration and his open border insurance policies that Beto would replicate.”

The concept O’Rourke put ahead Friday touches on a coverage proposal introduced ahead 5 years in the past by two conservative federal lawmakers. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, and Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado, introduced a bill in 2017 that would have created a state-based visa pilot program. The laws would have allowed states to start out their very own visitor employee packages, so they may meet “their particular person workforce wants,” in line with a information launch from that point. The laws in the end didn’t transfer ahead, however Johnson defined in an announcement why he supported it.

“Now we have a scarcity of staff in all completely different areas of the economic system,” Johnson’s 2017 assertion learn. “We have to acknowledge {that a} one-size-fits-all federal mannequin for visas or visitor staff doesn’t work. Let the states handle the visas, allocate them to the industries that want the employees, set prevailing wage charges.”

KXAN’s Will DuPree is speaking to immigration coverage specialists in regards to the feasibility of a visitor employee program in Texas and which industries might stand to learn most from it in addition to the challenges of pursuing one thing like this. You possibly can see that story tonight on KXAN Information at 6 p.m.

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