January 16, 2019
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker, U.S House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader, U.S House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Mitch McConnell Majority Leader, U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Charles Schumer Minority Leader, U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer:
On behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), a national construction trade association representing more than 27,000 firms including America’s leading general contractors, specialty contractors, service providers, and suppliers, I am writing to urge Congress to immediately act on reforming the nation’s immigration system to end the current partial federal government shutdown and achieve legislative success in an area that has seen so little for many years. The current immigration system has been broken for decades. It places national security in jeopardy, leaves millions of unauthorized workers without the ability to lawfully work and remains the catalyst for the longest government shutdown in history. The system has left thousands more with once legal work authorizations now with uncertain futures in the hands of the courts.
The current government shutdown offers a unique opportunity to finally address some of the immigration issues that have evaded Congress by providing a permanent solution to the security of our southern border and codifying previous administrative actions that have left thousands of individuals’ legal work authorizations hanging in the balance.
The inability of Congress to reform our nation’s laws has contributed to the construction industry facing a historic workforce shortage, which is compounded by the lack of any legal immigration process for construction employers to fill needed, year-round jobs. 1 There are an estimated 120,000 construction workers with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program whose work authorization near expiration and must wait final legal determinations on their future. TPS and DACA status holders have played a valued role in our economy and industry for decades. AGC urges Congress to extend the work authorization for these individuals.
Congress should seek realistic, compromise solutions on border security to reopen the federal government. Part of that compromise should include a solution for Dreamers and TPS holders to remain and continue to work legally in this country.
Stephen E. Sandherr
Chief Executive Officer
The Associated General Contractors of America
1 For information on the construction workforce shortage, visit: https://www.agc.org/news/2018/08/29/eighty-percent-contractors-report-difficulty-finding-qualified-craft-workers-hire