ABC Joins Letter to Congress Outlining Immigration Priorities for Construction Industry

On Feb. 5, 2018, ABC joined the Associated General Contractors (AGC), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Leading Builders of America (LBA) in sending a letter to Republican and Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to express support for broad, bipartisan reform to the U.S. immigration system and recommend policies that would help address the workforce needs of construction industry employers.  

In the letter, the group calls for a new, market-driven guest worker program for construction to help address the systemic labor shortages in the industry. The letter also calls for the creation of a fair and efficient employment verification system. With the current debate in Congress surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, the letter calls for a solution that provides individuals under this policy with a path toward earned permanent residency, as well as for the extension of temporary protected status (TPS) for deserving nations. Finally, the letter calls for the protection of construction contractors from discrimination or retaliation for participation in any border wall construction or other construction that addresses the needs of our national security.

ABC has previously supported legislation to improve E-Verify with safe harbor for employers acting in good faith, the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 3711).

ABC believes that immigrants currently authorized to work in the United States have helped to fill gaps in our workforce, and any immigration reform must deal with these individuals through a merit-based system that recognizes the needs of our country’s construction workforce. Currently, it is estimated that more than 100,000 DACA and TPS recipients work in the construction industry.

A recent bill in the California State Legislature would ban state government contracts for any company that works to help build any wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. ABC believes this action would set a dangerous precedent and eliminate necessary protections for fair and open competition when it comes to government contracts.