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NRCA issues a statement on Senate Immigration Legislation

April 17, 2013

NRCA commends the "Gang of Eight" senators for developing a bipartisan proposal to fix our broken immigration system and is pleased that Congress is moving forward regarding this critical issue. NRCA has long supported reform that increases border security; improves enforcement without burdening employers; provides an avenue for workers to enter the U.S. legally when our economy needs them; and addresses the existing illegal workforce.

NRCA looks forward to reviewing the proposed legislation and evaluating its effects on the roofing industry. On a preliminary basis, it appears this legislation gets the big picture correct. However, NRCA has serious concerns that the bill in its current form may not resolve key problems that now plague our immigration system.

NRCA is pleased to see bipartisan consensus regarding the need for a lesser-skilled temporary worker program (W-Visa program) that provides a legal avenue for businesses to obtain workers from abroad when domestic workers cannot fill job openings. Our members prefer to hire U.S. workers, but experience demonstrates this is not always possible within the roofing industry, even during a weak economy. NRCA supports a temporary worker program that is governed by market forces, protects U.S. workers and enables employers to obtain the workers needed to grow their businesses.

NRCA believes the basic construct of the new W-Visa program appears to meet the needs of U.S. employers and workers. However, we are concerned that severe and arbitrary limitations placed on the number of visas allotted to the construction industry will serve as a virtual exclusion from the program. It is disturbing that lawmakers would single out construction, one of the hardest-hit sectors during the recession and weak recovery of the past few years, for onerous treatment. Our dysfunctional immigration system will not be fixed if it fails to address the needs of the construction industry, a major contributor to the U.S. economy and job growth.

NRCA will also examine the employer enforcement requirements and other provisions of interest to the roofing industry. We look forward to working with lawmakers in the Senate and House to improve this proposal and enact immigration reform legislation into law this year.

For questions or more information, please contact Duane Musser, NRCA's vice president of government relations, at (202) 546-7584 or dmusser@nrca.net.

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