Washington Construction News staff writer
The Associated General Contractors of America’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to the introduction in Congress on Feb. 18 of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021:
“The proposed new immigration bill provides long-needed reforms to the nation’s flawed approach to immigration. By proposing to protect the legal status of so-called “Dreamers” and immigrants participating in the Temporary Protected Status program, the measure will allow more than 100,000 people to continue working lawfully in the construction industry. In addition, the bill’s efforts to provide a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants will, if enacted, help eliminate the exploitation of undocumented workers by unscrupulous employers that puts our member firms at an unfair competitive disadvantage.
“However, the bill’s lack of a year-round, work visa program for construction workers makes it likely that many more will seek to enter the country unlawfully, especially in times of strong economic growth. The measure’s whistle blower provisions create perverse incentives for undocumented workers to make unsubstantiated workplace allegations simply to secure protected status within the domestic workforce.
“Moving forward, we will work with Congress to address the bill’s significant flaws as we work to protect or provide legal status for many who currently work in the construction community so they can continue to support economic growth and development.”