Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Immigration Reform

In light of yesterday's immigration rallies throughout the U.S., the debate over immigration should heat up again on Capitol Hill. The House recently approved a hardline reform bill centered around border security, with a provision that makes it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally. The Senate bill that included a version of the temporary guest-worker program proposed by President Bush stalled on the floor, but Senate Leadership recently met with President Bush and promised to work to revive the bill.

Immigration reform is an important topic in the construction industry, an industry in which one out of four workers is an immigrant. With the increased demand for new construction and an estimated 185,000 workers needed over the next 10 years to maintain the current level of growth, key industry players are lobbying hard for a guest-worker program. For a recent discussion of the potential impact of immigration reform on the construction industry, see the Dallas Morning News. [registration required].

The employment of undocumented workers will also become more costly. The Greensboro News & Record reports that the Department of Homeland Security plans to crackdown on employers of undocumented workers.
"We are going to move beyond the current level of activity to a higher level in each month and year to come," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday. He pledged to "come down as hard as possible" on violators.


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