James V. Christianson, vice president, Government Relations, for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the nation's leading construction trade association, urged Congress "to reform the nation's immigration system." Christianson released a letter he sent today a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan on behalf of the association's 27,500 firms, including America's leading general contractors, specialty contractors, service providers, and suppliers.

"Although the bills before Congress this week address some immigration issues, unfortunately they fail to alleviate the industry's workforce shortage," Christianson wrote, adding that AGC opposes the bill the House is considering today, "The Securing America's Future Act," H.R. 4760. "Though the bill would strengthen national security—an AGC priority—through increased investment in border security, it reduces legal immigration," he wrote. "This will, in turn, restrict economic growth and worsen the domestic workforce shortage, especially in the construction industry."

AGC appreciates several provisions in another bill the House is considering that help move the immigration debate forward, "The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act," H.R. 6136, Christianson added. "Such measures include increased investments in border security, addressing DREAMer status, and providing reforms to the visa process. The bill additionally provides reforms to visa issuance and makes some improvements to the immigration system to meet economic and workforce needs."

He concluded, "AGC remains hopeful that H.R. 6136 could address some of the immigration issues that have dogged Congress for years and provide a pathway to solving other complex immigration issues in a timely, bipartisan manner. AGC looks forward to working with you to find legislative solutions that can address the workforce needs of the construction industry while also gaining enough support to be enacted.

The copy of the letter sent to House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan is here.