On May 16, the White House released a new the legal immigration system policy proposal that would prioritize immigrants’ skills over their family affiliations. The proposal includes a merit-based immigration system approach through a “Build America Visas” program based on a point system with education and employment offers as key variables. AGC remains supportive of temporary guest worker immigration visas to help alleviate workforce shortages, having supported pending legislation—The Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act, H.R. 1740 –that would allow contractors to hire year-round construction guest workers who otherwise have no legal immigration avenue. AGC members are encouraged to to urge their elected officials to support H.R. 1740.
Currently, the Administration’s proposal lacks key immigration reform specifics. Noticeably absent from the proposal are ways to transition the current undocumented population or address those with temporary status in the DACA and TPS programs. Other key details of importance to AGC members are how skills are defined and how Build America Visas could be extended to the construction industry to alleviate the worker shortages. The proposal is a first attempt by the Administration to align economic needs and future immigration but must be expanded upon to address other key immigration challenges such as earned legalization for immigrants already in the U.S.
Congress has been unwilling to find common ground on reforming the nation’s immigration system. The House is preparing to move a narrow immigration bill, H.R. 6, to extend DACA and TPS status, permanently. That bill is unlikely to become law without major changes and additional provisions like mandatory e-verify or enhanced border security.
For more information contact Jim Young at email@example.com.