Status

On Feb. 18, 2021, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (H.R. 1177/S. 348) to implement President Biden’s proposal on immigration reform. ABC is concerned that this proposal largely ignores the drivers of illegal immigration and the enforcement needed to prevent the circumvention of our nation’s borders and immigration laws over the coming years. The legislation seeks to create a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, including those currently authorized to legally live and work in the country through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and temporary protected status designation.

House and Senate Democrats also attempted to include immigration reforms that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants through the budget reconciliation process. Those attempts were, however, found in violation of the Senate’s Byrd rule and rejected by the Senate parliamentarian.

 

Desired Outcome

ABC believes any proposal that is to pass Congress must implement bipartisan solutions to fix our nation’s failing immigration system. While ABC has advocated for permanent protections of DACA and temporary protected status recipients that contribute to the country’s workforce and economy, including the more than 100,000 in the construction industry, comprehensive immigration reform must include necessary improvements to our country’s visa system that anticipates the future flow of immigrants to the United States and eliminates incentives for individuals to illegally enter the country in search of work opportunities.

Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry, construction continues to face worker shortages that have numbered in the hundreds of thousands each year. Providing employers with a flexible visa system that allows sufficient access to permanent and temporary foreign workers must be included in any final proposal to fix our immigration system. The enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws will also be critical in preventing future illegal immigration into the United States and holding those who violate immigration policies accountable.