Gov Shutdown Temporarily Reprieved; AGC and NRCA Call For Permanent Immigration Solution
by Norman Adams on January 28, 2019 at 10:00 AM
Friday, President Trump announced he would sign a bill to reopen shuttered government departments for three weeks, until February 15th. However, he also said that if Congress does not pass a fair immigration bill by February 15th, he will shut down the government again or use executive power to secure the border.
President Trump has the legal authority to secure the border, however, Democrats and Republicans should work together to pass legislation that funds border security and allows the Dreamers and TPS recipients, whose legal statuses may expire soon. It’s common sense that we need to secure the border, and it’s also common sense that we should not be deporting workers when unemployment is at 3.9% and our businesses are suffering a workforce shortage!
During the shutdown, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) each wrote letters to congressional leaders asking them to pass a bill to end the shutdown, secure the border, and allow the roughly 700,000 Dreamers and 325,000 TPS recipients, who have been following our laws and contributing to our economy, to remain in America.
Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of AGC said, “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. There are an estimated 120,000 construction workers with TPS and in the 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.”
Reid Ribble, CEO of NRCA wrote, “Given the chronic workforce shortage already confronting the roofing industry, as well as the failure of previous Congresses to enact legislation to reform and update our immigration system, it is highly counterproductive to end TPS designations for the estimated 325,000 employees working legally in the U.S., especially with unemployment at only 3.9 percent.”
Great job General Contractors and Roofers!
Thursday, the Senate failed to pass a immigration bill drafted by the White House. While the bill would have greatly improved border security, it only temporarily extended legal status for one million Dreamers and TPS recipients for three years. I imagine this is The White House’s starting point for negotiating because President Trump himself has said several times that he wants to pass a solution to allow Dreamers to earn permanent legal status and has supported bills that would have done so.
Last weekend while addressing the nation, President Trump did say that he wants to make a bigger deal down the road. He also tweeted about his bill, saying “No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy.” This suggests that he may be open to providing all 11 million undocumented workers with a method to earn their legal status as part of immigration reform that includes additional merit-based and enforcement initiatives.
All of this talk sounds good, but it’s time for Congress get it done. Along with the majority of the American people, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they support securing the border and allowing the Dreamers to remain in our country. Come on D’s and R’s, put politics aside and do what is right for America!
Our nation and its economy would benefit greatly from immigration reform that secures our border, allows DACA and TPS recipients to continue working in the United States, and provides the undocumented workers who are here and can pass background checks with a method to earn their legal status so the government can ID and tax them.
Please continue contacting your lawmakers and encouraging them to pass sensible immigration policy.
May God continue to bless America!