Legislative Alert - Immigration
By now I am sure you are aware that a deal has been reached on Immigration Reform. On Thursday, last week, the group of Senators both Democrat and Republican who have been negotiating for months, held a press conference to announce the bi-partisan deal. The Senate is expected to vote on whether to proceed with consideration of the bi-partisan immigration reform deal. Until then several different variations of the bill had been floating around, including a draft which was "leaked" to the press on Wednesday evening. I am still in the process of looking over the final language of the deal and I am in the process of examining the specific provisions which will have an effect on mason contractors. I have been in constant contact with my counterparts in the other construction trade associations all weekend discussing our strategy.
I wish that I could report to you that we have a reached a compromise which the business community and specifically the construction industry would be happy to support, unfortunately that is not the case. Disappointingly I must report that the deal brokered is far from perfect and includes many provisions which are unworkable and creates a flawed temporary worker program with an inadequate, and flawed employment eligibility verification system.
It is important to note, that this will effect ALL of you as employers, regardless of whether you use "guest workers" or not. The provisions dealing with the new electronic employee verification system as well as contractual agreements, will have an impact on these impact on your businesses.
Many of our Republican friends are advocating for provisions which would be incredibly harmful to our industry. Specifically, Senator's Cornyn and Sessions are proving to be very difficult to sway. I would encourage any of you who are in Texas or Alabama to contact these offices. In addition, I have attached a letter template for you to use in order to contact your Senator's and Representatives. I encourage all of you to contact your Members of Congress to encourage passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Please contact me if you wish to receive a draft copy of the legislation. For those of you who retain an attorney for your businesses, I would encourage you to ask your counsel to look over the bill to examine, specifically those provisions which will affect your contractual agreements.
Keep in mind that this fight is far from over. Senate staff has been working all weekend making slight adjustments to the bill. We will be working with Senators both Democratic and Republican to prepare amendments to address the concerns which still remain.
For your review, a brief Title by Title synopsis of the negotiated draft bill can be downloaded. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. Please e-mail me with any thoughts or concerns, your input would be greatly appreciated.
About the Author
Jessica Johnson Bennett was the Director of Government Affairs for MCAA. She has an extensive background in public affairs and government relations. Her expertise in strategic planning, PAC management and operations help on key policy issues.