Jamison Door Company makes the
giant walk-in refrigerators that chill produce and milk at Costco and Wal-Mart.
The story of Jamison Door
Company’s struggles with U.S.
immigration laws is a cautionary tale at a time when the nation is
embroiled in a controversial debate about outdated immigration laws.
It all started two years ago when
Jamison wanted to make a new high-speed, roll-up freezer door that had already
been perfected in Italy. Jamison was betting that adopting the new technology
would lead to new demand and create as many as 15 new jobs at its factory.
A key step involved tapping into
the technical know-how of Italian business owner Danilo Benotto, an expert in
the roll-up doors. Jamison CEO John T. Williams wanted to bring Benotto to the
U.S. in order to grow his business.
So Jamison got into a joint
venture and tried to get Benotto into the United States on an investor visa
called E-2. Over the course of two years, Benotto invested in real estate,
equipment and materials, all requirements for the visa.
Finally, Benotto got his visa
last November, months after filling out a final 73-page, single-spaced
application. But Bonotto was stuck in Italy because the IRS recently rejected
his request for a tax identification number he needs that to get paid in the
If Congress does tackle new
immigration laws, the E-2 investor visa is among those poised for a redo. Both
the Senate and the House have proposed significant changes.
Jamison's expansion woes are one
of the many reasons that big
business groups like Chamber of Commerce are pushing Congress to simplify and
overhaul immigration laws.
If Jamison Doors can get Benotto into the United States, it
will start hiring skilled workers like these already working there. And
these are good jobs that pay an average of $23 an hour, along with health care
and retirement benefits.
Jamison Operations Manager David
Briggs said he'd hire three new workers tomorrow, if Benotto got the green light
to land in this country.
here for the original article from CNN Money.