Dear Members of Congress,

On behalf of more than 165 organizations, higher education institutions, and municipalities we write to express our support for the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act. This bipartisan legislation calls upon the United States Department of Labor (DOL) to study the factors that impact the employment opportunities of immigrants and refugees who hold international credentials and to issue recommendations for reform.

As the U.S. workforce faces growing demands and employment gaps deepen in critical sectors, an estimated two million college-educated immigrants and refugees are unemployed or underemployed, according to the Migration Policy Institute. At least 60 percent of these individuals hold international credentials—165,000 in health-related fields.

The stakes are considerable. This skill underutilization impacts the economy through forgone earnings and unrealized tax revenue; it deprives communities and employers of valuable training and experience; and it limits the economic mobility of immigrant and refugee workers.

As communities across the U.S. welcome Afghans seeking refuge, there is a renewed opportunity to ensure access to career opportunities for all.

Internationally trained immigrants and refugees are ready to contribute their skills in careers that are commensurate with their experience. Read some of their stories:

  • A physician with 25 years’ experience as head of a government clinic in Afghanistan’s Herat province came to the U.S. in 2019. He holds a degree from an Afghan medical college and nearly 30 health-related trainings and certifications. However, to support his family, he has taken a job stocking shelves, earning $11 an hour.
  • A non-profit executive earned a political science degree in Nigeria and developed a successful career working on wide-ranging social issues with international NGOs. But when she moved to the U.S. in 2018, her international experience and credentials were not recognized. She took a job as a personal shopper with an online service to pay her bills.
  • A physician from Iraq worked as a licensed pathologist for more than 18 years in Baghdad before being resettled in the U.S. as a refugee in 2014. Barriers to licensure, including time-consuming and costly medical exams and clinical training, prevented her from re-establishing her medical career in the U.S. To support her family, she took a job at a restaurant.

The Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act marks an important step toward ensuring equitable opportunities for economic mobility, fostering an inclusive workforce, and driving a robust economy. We urge all members of Congress to co-sponsor this bill.

Sincerely,

African Advocacy Network
African American Ministers In Action
African Bridge Network
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Amherst College
Amplio Recruiting
Arkansas United Community Coalition
Arlington Public Library
Ascentria Care Alliance
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Asian Services in Action (ASIA)
Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture
Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
CAMI Health
Career Solutions
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE)
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce
Chemeketa Community College
Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition
Chicago Jewish Coalition for Refugees
Chicago Jobs Council
Chinese Mutual Aid Association
Church World Service (CWS)
Cincinnati Compass
City of Cleveland, Ohio
City of Portland, Maine
Coalition for Adult Basic Education (COABE)
Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)
Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE)
Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS)
Congregation Bet Ha'am
Consortium of Physicians From Latin America (COPHYLA)
Council on American-Islamic Relations in Missouri (CAIR-MO)
Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Dominican Sisters of Houston
Dover Adult Learning Center
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Edgewater Castle FC
Eleser Corp
Emily Griffith Technical College
Empowering Communities Globally: For the Care of Children
English for New Bostonians
Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
Faith in Public Life
Fellowship Southwest
Gainesville's Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice
GirlForward
Glen Oaks Community College
Global Cleveland
Global Detroit
HIAS
Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) ministry
Homes Not Borders
Hot Bread Kitchen
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
ICNA Relief
Immigration Hub
IMPRINT
Institute for Immigration Research (IIR)
Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)
InterFaith Works of Central New York
International Institute of Buffalo
International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit
International Institute of St. Louis
International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Jewish Family and Career Services (JFCS) Louisville
Jews and Muslims and Allies Acting Together (JAMAAT)
Jobs for the Future (JFF)
Journey's End Refugee Services
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Livefully Corp
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA)
Maine Business Immigration Coalition
Maine Immigrants Rights Coaltion
Maine People's Alliance (MPA)
Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
Mc2
Médicos Unidos Venezuela USA
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance
MIRR (Migrant, Immigrant, Refugee Rights) Alliance
Motherland Beauties
National Council of Churches USA
National Immigration Forum
National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA)
National Skills Coalition
Nebraska Appleseed
New American Economy
New American Pathways
New Mainers Resource Center
New Women New Yorkers
New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC)
New York Immigration Coalition
Niskanen Center
North Carolina Justice Center
Northern Virginia Coalition for Refugee Wellness
NOVA Friends of Refugees
NYATEP
Oasis Legal Services
Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church
One Refugee
OneAmerica
Orotta School of Medicine and Dentistry - OSMD Network
Ozark Literacy Council
P Consultants
Palm Beach State College
Pars Equality Center, Los Angeles
Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Per Scholas
Phipps Neighborhoods
PODER
Portland Adult Education
Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
Project Blueprint
Project Worthmore
Promise Arizona
Pursuit Transformation Company Inc
Refugee Action Network
Refugee Advocacy Lab
Refugee Congress
Refugee Education & Adventure Challenge (REACH)
Refugee Women's Alliance
RefugeeOne
RefugePoint
Restore Education
Riverside Language Program
Russian Oregon Social Services
Sampreshan Inc.
Sanctuary Now!
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Justice Team
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning
Spur LLC
St Mark Community Education Program
SUNY Bronx Educational Opportunity Center (EOC)
Syrian Community Network
Talent Beyond Boundaries
Tent Partnership for Refugees
The Center for Victims of Torture
The LIBRE Initiative
Turas Group
U.S. Africa Institute
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
Union for Reform Judaism
Upwardly Global
Venezuelans and Immigrants Aid
Voces Unidas for Justice
Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates (WAIMG)
We Are All America
Welcome Back Initiative
Welcoming America
Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration
Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center
Witness at the Border
World Education Services (WES)
World Refugee Day Chicago
World Relief
YMCA International Learning Center
YMCA of Greater New York
Ysleta Community Learning Center



Thanks to our partners:

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