Dec 20 2016

During his first two years in the U.S. Senate, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) has established himself as a leading voice for bipartisan immigration reforms and a staunch defender of North Carolina small businesses that depend on seasonal workers to survive and support American jobs.
Tillis has called for pragmatic, bipartisan immigration reform that secures the border and addresses the undocumented population.

While Senator Tillis opposes amnesty, he believes both parties can work together in order to secure the border, address the status of the undocumented population, and support commonsense reforms to the nation’s legal immigration system that would support American businesses and jobs. Senator Tillis has recently said that the incoming Trump administration should consider a “soft landing” for undocumented minors, and he has stated his intent to continue working with his Democratic and Republican colleagues on immigration issues.
“Tillis also has begun framing a relatively moderate position on one of the hottest issues before Congress: immigration reform.” (McClatchy, 4/16/16)
“In the Senate, he pointed to immigration reform as an issue he would push his party to be strategic about. Shy of ‘amnesty,’ he said he’s open to proposals from either party for what to do with the millions of people living in the country illegally.” (National Journal, 12/12/16)
“‘I think the administration should seriously look at a soft landing for them [undocumented minors], I really do,’ said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), a member of the Judiciary Committee. ‘We’re not talking about amnesty. We’re not talking about granting citizenship. But they represent a class of people that I think are very different....The root cause of this illegal immigration was not the conscious action of the individuals we’re talking about,’ Tillis said. ‘That’s why I think we could look at this and maybe identify a broader base of people who may be willing to support it.’” (Politico, 12/9/16)
Tillis has also been an advocate for legal immigration that supports North Carolina businesses and jobs.
In spite of the criticism he has received from the right, Senator Tillis has been working across the aisle to reform the H-2B visa program, which is vital to small and seasonal employers across North Carolina who depend on temporary workers to sustain their businesses and supplement their existing American workforce.
Senator Tillis partnered with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to introduce the Save Our Small and Seasonal Business Act of 2015, and the senators secured key reforms to the H-2B visa program that were included in the FY2016 omnibus.
“As a Republican, Tillis is keenly aware of the negative feelings conservative voters associate with foreign worker visas and immigration generally. ‘There’s some general opposition to the notion that what we’re doing will cost American jobs,’ he said. Tillis is in a unique camp among Republicans that disavows that principle.” (Morning Consult, 5/5/16)
“But in an interview, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who’s worked with Mikulski to overhaul the program, said senators are already in discussions about the H-2B provisions for this year’s spending bills. (Mikulski and Tillis have a shared interest in protecting their states’ seafood industries; the two have developed a close enough working relationship that Mikulski calls Tillis ‘Catfish.’) ‘We’re looking at it because every year, it’s Band-Aid after Band-Aid,’ Tillis said. ‘And then every season, we’re already hearing problems from the last one.’” (Politico, 5/3/16)
“In the specific case of immigration reform, of which the senator is committed to pursuing efforts to help producers secure a skilled legal workforce, he serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, who has jurisdiction over matters relating to human rights and immigration law. While immigration reform has been a frustrating issue for the fresh produce industry, there are real efforts underway in Congress to show bi-partisan support for reforms to the current H-2A program, efforts in which Tillis is on the forefront.” (United Fresh Produce Association, 8/18/16)
Watch Senator Tillis explain why he has been leading efforts to reform the H-2B program to support North Carolina businesses.