News for the Hospitality Executive
Marriott CEO Calls for 'Sober' Discussion of Immigration
Presidential Campaign; Bill Marriott Says Employers Need Workable
Employment Verification System
|WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2008 - Citing the need for comprehensive
immigration reform, J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr. today expressed hope that
the presidential campaigns would "move to a sober discussion of immigration
"We need to cool the rhetoric and work together to come up with a federal solution," he said. Marriott, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR), said that complying with a myriad of local immigration laws is impractical for any national employer. "With expected growth, the hospitality industry alone will need an additional 300,000 workers in the next several years.
"We need immigrant workers in our economy and we need to create a workable verification system so that employers like us know that they're hiring people who are authorized to work," he said.
Marriott pointed to one of the most successful employee programs at his company, "Sed de Saber," which is Spanish for "thirst for knowledge." He said hundreds of employees are using the system to learn critical English language skills because they want to be productive workers and hope someday to realize their dream to become Americans.
Marriott also cited the importance of removing the barriers to global travel. "We need to make our visa and entry systems more efficient and customer-friendly because we're losing a tremendous opportunity to bring visitors to the U.S.," he said.
Marriott acknowledged progress made by the government in securing a new China travel agreement signed last month that will facilitate Chinese group travel to the U.S., while saying there were opportunities for continued improvement.
"The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department need to make better use of technology to process people more efficiently and share information amongst different agencies to eliminate bureaucracy, delay and duplication.
"And our industry needs to do our part -- so we're working with congress to get the funding DHS and State need to increase their staffing, get better technology, improve their infrastructure and enhance customer service," said Marriott.
"Bottom line, travel is trade. It's also our best form of public diplomacy. Here in the United States we need to put out the welcome mat at our borders, airports and embassies around the world. Security must be a priority. But appropriate security processes must allow an open exchange of people, ideas, services and products," he said.
To view a video of the speech, visit http://www.marriottnewsroom.com and click on the news release. The link will be available beginning approximately 7 p.m. eastern time, today, January 17.
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. (NYSE: MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 2,900 lodging properties in the United States and 67 other countries and territories.
Marriott International, Inc.
|Also See:||With the U.S. Hotel Industry Facing Labor Shortages, Especially at the Entry Level, Bill Marriott Presses Congress for Comprehensive Immigration Reform / April 2006|
|Heads of Six Hotel Companies in the U.S. Send Letter to President Bush Seeking Comprehensive Immigration Reform / May 2007|