Two recent immigration policy changes highlight the need for Congress to enact permanent immigration reform. First, on June 18, the Supreme Court ruled that recipients under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) can continue to legally work in the country. The decision was the result of recent Trump Administration actions that attempted to roll back the 2012 DACA program. While the decision allows an estimated 80,000 DACA recipients working in the construction industry to continue to do so, the decision presents an opportunity for the Trump administration to continue pursuing an end to the program. It remains important for Congress to extend permanent protections to “Dreamers” and ensure that the construction industry has availability to a legal workforce.
Second, President Trump issued a new Executive Order on June 22 that suspends new worker immigration visas under the H-2B program. The H-2B program provides temporary, seasonal visas and in many parts of the country has been used to address workforce shortages. The H-2B program is an important supplement to American workers without taking jobs away from them. AGC has long called for guest worker visas, which are better suited for the construction industry, and maintains the need for a market-based year-round visa for immigrant workers in the industry.