Passage of the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 could retain the services of at least 100,000 people currently working in the U.S. construction industry.
So says Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors, who hailed the recent House passage of the legislation, noting that “the men and women covered by this measure are making essential contributions to economic development and infrastructure projects across the country.”
If the legislation should fail in the Senate, Sandherr said in a statement, the U.S. construction industry could be faced with the sudden loss of qualified laborers “at a time when a vast majority of contractors report difficulty finding qualified workers to hire.”
House passage of the bill has also won the approval of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which issued a statement saying the legislation would “allow union members to continue contributing to their communities, supporting their families, and the U.S. economy.”
Originally proposed in the summer of 2001, the Dream Act has never won full Congressional approval. Four similar proposals introduced in the Senate last year all failed.
As written, the legislation, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump, would offer conditional green cards as well as extending work authorization to individuals who are currently in the U.S. via the Temporary Protected Status program as well as the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program.
The legislation is not without its critics: Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Kelly, who voted against the bill, said the Dream Act would essentially offer amnesty to millions of people who are in the U.S. illegally.
He further added that in his view the bill “prioritizes illegal aliens over Americans and legal immigrants.”
The legislation is now on its way to the Senate where it is expected to be taken up by members in September once they return from their late summer break.
By Garry Boulard
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