AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department’s statement on immigration reform.

Here is the statement, thanks to Jim Platner. I will summarize:
“Mass unregulated illegal immigration into the United States creates unfair wage competition.” There needs to be tougher border enforcement. “A mandatory electronic work-eligibility verification system is needed, which can effectively detect the use of fraudulent documents and significantly reduce the employment of unauthorized immigrants.” This system is “the lynchpin” to comprehensive immigration reform.
A new temporary worker program “would be particularly harmful to the long-term interests of the building and construction industry, because of its negative effect on bona fide apprenticeship and training programs.”
Union sponsored hiring halls and joint labor/management training programs work, and should be supported as the means to provide qualified labor to this industry.
The H-2B visa system in place should be used for foreign labor. This visa program “is currently available to full employers’ temporary needs resulting from either on-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent labor shortages that do not last for more than one year…it is uniquely appropriate” to fill employer needs in building and construction that cannot otherwise be met be hiring halls.
The H-2B system should be modified to allow for joint labor-management programs to sponsor temporary employment of “trained skilled workers from abroad.” This will assure protection of labor standards of U.S. workers.
There should be a “path to earned legal status” for illegal immigrants here now, as many have been “law-abiding, tax-paying and hard working” participants in the economy. They should pay an appropriate penalty and get in line behind those legally in line from the start. [The term “citizenship” is not used.] Once they “adjust their status”, they should receive federal labor and civil rights protections but not receive federal entitlements.

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