Landmark legislation to secure U.S. borders and offer millions of illegal immigrants a share of the American dream cleared the Senate before the end of last month. The vote cleared the way for compromise talks this summer with the House on its immigration measures focusing on border enforcement, with no guarantee of success.

The legislation includes money to better secure borders, provide a new guest worker program, and give an eventual shot at citizenship to many of the estimated 11 million to 12 million immigrants in the country illegally.

The HVACR industry definitely employs immigrants, but to what extent is not exactly quantifiable. According to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction employed the greatest number of foreign-born workers in 2005 - about 2.5 million immigrants, or about one out of every eight who have a job there.

The NEWS tried to get a handle on where this industry stands on this social topic, but because it is such an emotional issue, answers varied. In an unscientific poll, NEWS readers responded en masse to a recent three-question online survey regarding immigration.

See the complete report in this week's article titled "Is the Melting Pot Boiling Over?"

Publication date: 06/19/2006