new immigration laws affect construction industry

Economists are saying that the current immigration sentiment and laws (both current and proposed) are affecting the US economic growth. This is by both decreasing the intellectual as well as labor force that the US normally depends upon for advances and work.

Here’s an article that covers some of this in the construction business:

Worker Shortfall, Immigrant Laws Put Construction Firms in Squeeze
— reported by


It’s a common dilemma in Tucson’s $2 billion-a-year home-building industry. At least 34 percent of Arizona’s construction workers are here illegally, based on estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group. Two dozen local legal and illegal workers told the Star that in their experience, the percentage is more than half. They find jobs despite growing public discontent with the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. And because of a labor shortage the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association estimates at 5,000 workers, they’ll keep finding jobs even as lawmakers rebalance a seesaw tipped for decades toward keeping people out while ignoring employers of those who make it in.


“The Arizona economy, the Tucson economy, the national economy continues to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs each year for low-skilled workers in construction, landscaping, food preparation and cleaning at a time when there just aren’t enough Americans around to fill all the jobs,” Griswold says. “We’re getting older, we’re getting better educated, and so you’ve got this huge jobs magnet and an immigration law that doesn’t reflect the real needs of the U.S. economy.”


Higher wages might help draw more legal workers to the field, but several local builders and subcontractors worry that could drive down profit margins they say already are so thin they’re mulling other careers. Don’t mourn the industry’s passing just yet, says Rick Oltman, Western field director for the Washington, D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform, which seeks greater restrictions on immigration. Home builders have always done just fine finding the price the market will bear, and new immigration laws won’t change that, he says. “Most American businessmen will be able to find a way to get along without all this cheap labor,” he says. “They will either hire Americans, raise wages, mechanize or a combination thereof.” Paying the price Many in the industry doubt higher wages could overcome Tucson’s labor shortage. “If there were 5,000 local construction workers available, skilled or unskilled, they’d be snapped up tomorrow,” builder Michael Keith says. “They don’t exist. End of story.”


The problem, Taczanowsky says, is too few legal residents want to work in construction. “The disconnect happened when the trades were looked down on as dirty, stinky work, and that had nothing to do with wages and everything to do with perception,” he says. “Everybody has been taught to go to college and make something of themselves. No one has been told that you can earn a very good living working in construction.”


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