AGC: Immigration Cap on Construction Workers Would Undermine Economic Recovery

Association official warns severe limits on construction workers in immigration proposal will lead to worker shortages as demand rebounds

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The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in response to proposed immigration reform legislation released today by the “Gang of Eight” Senators:

“The Senators’ proposal for immigration reform provides a long-needed opportunity to fix a significantly broken system. That is why we will fully review the details of a very complex bill.

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“We are deeply troubled that the proposal appears to arbitrarily single out the construction industry for a unique cap while providing a reasonable mechanism for the immigration system to adapt to evolving market conditions for every other segment of the domestic economy.

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“Setting severe and arbitrary restrictions on construction workers isn't just bad policy, it is bad economics. Few industries experience such dramatic, demand-based fluctuations in the size of their workforce as does construction. Imposing severe limitations - one-quarter of 1 percent of current construction employment levels - on the potential pool of available workers at a time when economists expect construction firms will add up to 350,000 new workers this year alone will undermine the sector’s nascent recovery. If this proposal were to be enacted, construction employers could easily go from not having enough work to not having enough workers.

“While this bill is a good beginning, we look forward to working with legislators over the coming weeks to improve this initial proposal so we can have comprehensive immigration reform that sustains, instead of restrains, economic growth.”

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