Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:
On behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), I write to urge Congress to take a necessary step towards reforming our nation’s immigration system by passing H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021. As such, AGC urges all members to vote “YES” on H.R. 6 and will record the vote as a “KEY VOTE” for the education of its membership of more than 27,000 firms.
The current immigration system has been broken for decades, as it has placed hundreds of thousands of work authorized-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in constant legal jeopardy. These individuals are valuable contributors to the U.S. workforce and, without action, many in the construction industry face uncertain futures.
AGC understands that immigration is a complex issue impacting many individuals, industries, and employers. However, for two decades we have called for legislative reforms – many of which enjoy bipartisan support – with little movement. H.R. 6 offers an opportunity to address an important component of reform: giving individuals in the U.S. an opportunity to earn lawful permanent residence and protections for immigrants who were brought here as children and those who have fled other countries due to armed conflicts or natural disasters.
The inability of Congress to reform our immigration laws has contributed to the skilled worker shortage in the construction industry, which is compounded by the lack of any legal immigration process for construction employers to fill needed, year-round jobs. There are more than 100,000 construction workers with TPS status and in the DACA program who lack permanent work authorization. TPS and DACA holders have played a valued role in our economy and industry for decades.
AGC believes H.R. 6 represents a positive first step in the immigration reform process. Congress must also seek realistic, bipartisan solutions on border security and create a temporary guest worker system that would respond to market and economic needs, among other things. Again, AGC urges you to vote “YES” on H.R. 6 and will record your vote for the education of its membership.
James V. Christianson
Vice President, Government Relations