This month, a House-Senate conference committee is expected to
begin work to see whether an agreement can be reached to reconcile
differences between two vastly different bills addressing the U.S.
immigration system. Rarely has such an effort had so much
importance to the roofing industry.
The House bill deals almost exclusively with border security,
serving only to restrict the flow of immigrants into the country.
It also would make employers largely responsible for enforcing the
current, unworkable immigration law. No responsible employer
supports illegal immigration, but addressing border security first,
as the bill's supporters describe it, is politician-speak for only
addressing border security and leaving the current immigration mess
The Senate bill, though not perfect, is a much better attempt at
comprehensive reform of the system. Among other things, it would
provide for a significant increase in the number of workers who
could enter the country legally and allow those already in the
country to earn citizenship over time—with penalties for
Speaking to NRCA's board of directors in July, U.S. Secretary of
Commerce Carlos Gutierrez pointed out more than half the
undocumented workers in the U.S. entered the country legally; they
are illegal now because they remained past their visa expiration
dates. The problem, he reminded us, is more complicated than simply
contending with prospective workers...
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