The Associated General Contractors of America is still mulling over the bipartisan immigration reform bill the president is hoping to work through Congress.
“We are trying to figure out if we’re more satisfied than disappointed with this agreement,” said association CEO Stephen E. Sandherr.
The bill, whose prospects for passage are unclear, would provide a “path to citizenship” while hoping to reduce the number of illegal aliens that enter the United States every day. Some estimates say the country currently has about 12 million such immigrants.
The bill has been criticized by many Republicans as offering “amnesty” to illegal U.S. workers, while some Democrats complain it does do enough to recognize immigrants who have otherwise been good citizens since arriving here.
The AGC said immigration reform is “vital” and any law must make the country safer. Legislation, it said, should include: a reliable employment-verification process, penalties “proportionate to the violation” for companies that hire illegal workers, a “meaningful” guest-worker program and no liability for general contractors whose subcontractors or vendors hire illegal workers.
The construction industry, along with hospitals, hotels and restaurants, employ many of the U.S.’ illegal immigrant population, and are pushing for any new law to allow large numbers of temporary workers.