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NRCA Action Alert: House Immigration Reform Bill Must Address Construction Industry Labor Shortages

June 2013

It is likely the Senate will soon approve immigration reform legislation that, though positive in many ways, effectively excludes construction employers from participating in a new temporary worker program created by the bill. House members will attempt to draft an alternative immigration reform bill in July. NRCA urges members to contact their representatives and urge support for immigration legislation that does not unfairly single out construction employers for onerous treatment as the Senate bill does.

Background

The Senate likely will pass the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) in the coming days. This bill includes a new W-visa program designed to provide a legal avenue for businesses to obtain workers from abroad when domestic workers cannot be found to fill job openings. NRCA supports a temporary worker program that is governed by market forces, protects U.S. workers and enables employers to legally obtain workers needed to meet business demands.

Unfortunately, to gain the support of organized labor, which opposes temporary worker programs, S. 744 contains provisions that essentially exclude construction employers from participating in the new W-visa program authorized by the bill. The Senate bill restricts the number of visas allocated to the construction industry to a maximum of 15,000 annually nationwide. Employers in other industries face no similar restriction.

Other provisions in the bill also make it more difficult for construction employers to participate compared with employers in other industries.

House members are working to develop alternative immigration reform legislation that may be considered in July. It is imperative lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee hear from roofing contractors regarding the need for a temporary worker program to stop illegal immigration and provide access to foreign labor when domestic workers cannot be found.

Take Action Now

NRCA has expressed support for an effective temporary worker program and opposition to unfair and burdensome restrictions on construction industry employers. We need your help to communicate the roofing industry's views and concerns to House members on immigration reform legislation.

Contact your representative immediately, and communicate the following points:
  • You support immigration reform that eliminates illegal immigration by providing a legal avenue for employers to obtain workers from abroad when job openings cannot be filled by domestic workers.
  • You support a new temporary worker program that operates according to market forces and is not micro-managed by a commission in Washington, D.C.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in roofing will grow 18 percent between 2010 and 2020 as more aging workers are retiring.
  • Failure to provide a legal avenue for employers to obtain foreign workers when needed will ensure the problem of illegal immigration is not resolved.
  • You oppose any cap on visas or other restrictions imposed on construction employers in any new temporary worker program created by immigration legislation.
  • Access to an effective temporary worker program is critical to economic growth and job creation in the construction industry, which is more than 5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
You may contact your representative by calling, emailing or visiting his or her district office. Many House members will hold office hours at their district offices or town hall meetings the week of July 1 and should be contacted in their districts.

To email your representatives, click here, find your representative's website and email a message by copying and pasting the provided bullet points.

If you don't know who your representative is, click on the link above and enter your ZIP code in the upper right-hand corner.

If you prefer to telephone your representative, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121, ask for the representative's office, tell the staff you are calling about immigration reform and communicate the provided bullet points.

When emailing or calling your representative, always provide your name, company name and address so he or she knows you are a constituent.

NRCA recommends all members contact their representatives in the House at this critical time. You are encouraged to contact your representative if he or she is on the House Judiciary Committee; members are:

Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman
Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)
Howard Coble (R-N.C.)
Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)
Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.)
Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
Randy Forbes (R-Va.)
Steve King (R-Iowa)
Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)
Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Ted Poe (R-Texas)
Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)
Tom Marino (R-Pa.)
Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.)
Mark Amodei (R-Nev.)
Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)
Blake Farenthold (R-Texas)
George Holding (R-N.C.)
Doug Collins (R-Ga.)
Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.)
Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.)
John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking member
Jerold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
Robert Scott (D-Va.)
Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
Melvin Watt (D-N.C.)
Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)
Hank Johnson (D-Ga.)
Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico)
Judy Chu (D-Calif.)
Ted Deutch (D-Fla.)
Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)
Karen Bass (D-Calif.)
Cedric Richmond (D-La.)
Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.)
Joe Garcia (D-Fla.)
Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

Please let NRCA's Washington, D.C., office know of any contacts made to your representative by contacting Duane Musser, NRCA's vice president of government relations, at (202) 546-7584 or dmusser@nrca.net.

Thank you for taking the time to contact your lawmakers. Remember, grassroots action is critical to supplementing NRCA's efforts in Washington, D.C.



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