Builders hope for immigration reform under Republicans

Immigratation and US flagMitt Romney’s comments regarding the passing of comprehensive immigration reform in the event of the Republican party winning the Senate in this week’s midterm elections have seen the Republican nominee and one-time presidential candidate come under fire from members of his own party, with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin accusing him of living in “Never Never Land”. Romney’s views have found support from many in the construction industry, however. No less than 83% of contractors within the United States are having increasing difficulty finding laborers, carpenters and equipment operators, according to a recent survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA), and a large number of those in the industry believe that immigration reform is swiftly becoming a necessity.

“As the survey results make clear, many construction firms across the country are having a hard time filling available positions,” says the AGCA’s chief economist, Ken Simonson. The survey suggests that the South-East is the area suffering most, with 86% of the respondents saying that filling craft worker positions is growing more and more difficult.

The president of the Birmingham-based firm Golden Construction, Geoff Golden, told the Birmingham Business Journal recently that the construction industry is now facing an unbelievable shortage when it comes to labor and that growth in the United States could be paralyzed as a result. “It is at the field, the craft trades. It goes from that to the management. It is a major problem,” he explained. Golden is one of many contractors demanding immigration reform to allow more Hispanic immigrants to come to the US to work.