The Christmas season is all about excitement, celebration, and spending time with loved ones. But this year, it’s also been a source of stress for families worried about whether they’ll be able to prepare their usual Christmas meals.
In Alaska, we are all too familiar with exorbitant prices. Being far away from the contiguous 48 states already bloats common commodities and raises the cost of daily living. But ongoing labor shortages and supply chain issues across America are straining our families and local businesses more than ever.
Unfortunately, soaring prices for agricultural and industrial goods seem to be the new normal for Alaskan households. This year alone, Anchorage’s costs have increased by more than 12%. And prices will continue to rise unless something changes.
Many of these economic challenges facing our country today are the result of a shortage of skilled workers. Across the United States, he has more than five million job openings, outnumbering the workers who fill those positions.
Our country desperately needs more workers. But instead of securing America’s existing workforce, America is removing potentially large numbers of key employees from the country’s workforce.
This fall, a lower court ruled on the Deferred Action for Arrival of Children Illegally Created Over 10 Years Ago (DACA) program. This decision puts more than 600,000 of her DACA recipients and countless other Dreamers at risk of being eliminated from the economy. Ending DACA will mean 1,000 Dreamers lose their jobs every day over the next two years, costing the economy about $1 billion each month.
But our economy doesn’t have to lose the contributions of these individuals in our community.
Congress can prevent these losses by passing laws that support the future of America’s workforce. Thankfully, there are two bills in Congress that can address these challenges. The Agricultural Workforce Modernization Act and the Dream Act.
Together, these two bills will strengthen our nation’s economy by giving dreamers a pathway to citizenship and establishing a legal and reliable workforce for farmers and ranchers. Creating a clear path for legal immigration will help prevent the loss of existing employees and attract workers to fill gaps in the current workforce.
Americans are deeply concerned about the economic challenges facing our country and want action in Congress this year. Nearly four of his five Americans, and an even higher percentage of Evangelical Christians, have worked together to provide American farmers with a reliable workforce. I want to work on immigration reforms that bring down food prices.
As an evangelical pastor in Alaska, the ongoing labor shortages are affecting vulnerable populations in our immediate communities affected by rising costs and stagnating wages, and across America who are being left behind by a broken immigration system. We are concerned about both hard working individuals.
The people of Alaska literally cannot afford to keep Congress delaying the delivery of solutions. Food prices in Alaska are rising at an alarming rate, leaving our communities suffering and our neighbors starving as a result.
It’s time for Congress to act this year and move forward with common-sense immigration solutions so all boats can get on board with the New Year.
Todd Michelo Senior Pastor of Community Covenant Church in Eagle River.
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