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Reform Must End Illegal Immigration, Address Roofing Industry Needs

NRCA has long supported immigration reform that increases border security, improves workplace enforcement without burdening employers, provides an avenue for workers to enter the U.S. legally when our economy needs them, and addresses the problem of the existing illegal workforce in a balanced manner. NRCA urges Congress to approve immigration reform consistent with these principles in 2013.

A fatal flaw of the 1986 immigration reform law was that it failed to provide a mechanism for foreign workers to fill job openings legally when needed in the lesser-skilled economic sectors. Congress must not repeat this mistake in any legislation that truly fixes our immigration system.

NRCA members prefer to hire U.S. workers, but experience demonstrates this is not always possible. The difficulty of finding sufficient workers for job openings has been a serious problem for the roofing industry for many years despite vigorous efforts to recruit U.S. workers. This is because of demographic trends of an aging workforce, rising education levels in the U.S. and the physically demanding nature of roofing work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in the roofing industry will grow 18 percent in the decade between 2010 and 2020, and this demand cannot be met by U.S. workers alone.

NRCA supports a new temporary visa program that is governed by market forces, protects U.S. workers, and enables employers to obtain the workers needed to meet demand and grow their businesses and the economy. Specifically, a successful temporary visa program should be guided by the following principles:
  • It should be governed by market forces.

  • It should ensure employers undertake vigorous efforts to hire U.S. workers first.

  • The program must be streamlined and easy to use for employers.

  • The program must be large enough to accommodate the economy's constantly fluctuating need for temporary workers depending on economic conditions.

  • It should treat all sectors of the economy equally and should not pick winners and losers.
Immigration reform must provide a temporary visa program for the lesser-skilled economic sector that ends illegal immigration and meets the needs of the roofing industry. Reps. Poe (R-Texas) and Labrador (R-Idaho) will introduce legislation to accomplish this goal. For more information, contact Duane Musser in NRCA's Washington, D.C., office at dmusser@nrca.net.

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