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Action Alert: Senate to act on immigration, March 2006

March 29, 2006

Urge your senator to support comprehensive immigration reform

Current situation: On March 27, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform package out of his committee that will ease the shortage of essential workers facing the construction industry. NRCA supports the "Specter Bill."

Unfortunately, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) introduced his own immigration reform proposal (S 2454) that focuses solely on interior enforcement and border security, and is similar to the disastrous bill (HR 4437) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2005. S 2454 would impose massive increases in penalties on employers, and does nothing to protect the United States' economic security by providing for our nation's long-term labor needs. Sen. Frist plans to bring his legislation and the "Specter Bill" to the Senate floor for debate TODAY!

It is critical that you contact your senator today to let him or her know a bill such as S 2454 is unacceptable and the future of your business depends upon the Senate passing a comprehensive immigration reform package. Tell your senator you "support the Specter Bill."

How your business is affected: S 2454 would force employers to act as the "document police." To make matters worse, the legislation fails to provide legal channels for employers to access needed immigrant workers when U.S. workers are unavailable. Provisions of the legislation include:
  • Employers found to be in violation of the new mandates can be subject to fines as high as $50,000 for each violation as well as prison time.
  • Paperwork violations can result in a $25,000 fine. This is a 25-fold increase — the current fine is $1,000.
  • Employers are required to confirm the work authorization of every employee, including some former employees.
  • The bill criminalizes the status of those here unlawfully. Currently, unauthorized presence in the United States is a civil violation.
Solution for the roofing industry: Any legislation in the Senate should: provide for increased national security and control of our nation's borders; create an efficient temporary worker program that allows employers to recruit immigrant workers when there is a shortage of domestic workers; and provide a mechanism for qualified, screened undocumented migrants now in the country to earn legal status. All three of these elements must be joined in one initiative. The "Specter Bill" does exactly this. The law already penalizes employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens and imposes enough paperwork; the primary burden of enforcing our immigration laws should not fall on employers.

What to do: Debate on the bills begins this afternoon. Call, fax or write your senator and ask him/her today to support comprehensive immigration reform that includes the three components of the solution for the roofing industry. Make it known that an "enforcement only" approach would be detrimental to your business and the U.S. economy.
  • Click here for a sample letter to copy and paste on your own letterhead.
  • To contact your senator by e-mail, visit www.senate.gov and click "Find Your Senators" in the upper right-hand corner.
  • To telephone your senator, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 244-3121.
For more information, contact Craig Silvertooth, NRCA's director of federal affairs, at (202) 546-7584 or csilvertooth@nrca.net.

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