Immigration Enforcement Policy
The construction industry is one of the sectors that will be largely affected, both positively and negatively by the immigration enforcement policy in the United States. Construction companies largely depend on the immigrant labor, be it legal or illegal, for production. Currently, there are approximately undocumented immigrants in the United States and they contribute to a significant portion of the America’s workforce. On its own, the construction industry hires 1 million the undocumented workers, which means that 1 in file of the unwarranted immigrants in the U.S, are based in the construction industry. Upon assuming office, President Donald Trump has been strict on the issue of the illegal immigrants and he has he recently signed an executive order empowering the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to employ more officers who will track down the illegal immigrants and take severe actions against them (Slowey, 2017). Since the construction workforce is known to comprise of many illegal immigrants, they are likely to be heavily scrutinized by ICE in the in few months to come. The immigration enforcement policy will lead to a shortage of labour in the construction industry, which will have far-fetching effects, such increased costs of employing the legal immigrants and migrants. On the other hand, the immigration enforcement policy will boost the construction industry because the employers will be hiring more qualified and certified workers who can be more productive.
Negative impact of the immigration enforcement: Shortage of labour
As earlier stated, the construction industry largely relies on the immigrants for their workforce. To be specific, workers who do not have legal documents for residence and more so, work permits in the United States are the most employed in most of the industries, including the construction sector. These work in various occupations in the construction industry from being subcontractors, masonry, painting, and concrete building, just to mention a few. The construction sector employers prefer employing the immigrants over the native residents for various reasons. The main reason is because the immigrants and specifically the undocumented ones are cheap to hire and therefore, companies do not have to incur heavy costs ((Slowey, 2017). The native-born U.S migrants are expensive to hire as they are more educated, which also explains the ever skyrocketing unemployment rates in the U.S. On the other hand, the construction industry would not be successful as it is if they did not employ legal immigrants who are often come in handy with their exceptional talents.
The U.S ICE aims at protecting the immigration as well as enhancing security borders. As much as the unwarranted immigrants are resourceful when it comes to cheap and affordable labor, they are also largely associated with the high crime rates in the United States of America. As such, the immigration enforcement by the ICE will see to it that companies are heavily scrutinized in order to identify the illegal immigrants and those firms will be held accountable. The construction companies might face heavy fines or even business closure if they are found guilty and to avoid that, they will have to lay off the undocumented immigrants and seek alternatives (Slowey, 2017). The alternatives will be finding native-born workers who will fit in their limited budgets, and this will be hard to come by since most native-born Americans are educated and therefore, expensive to hire. Eventually, this will lead to a high shortage of labour in the construction industry.
The positive impact of the immigration enforcement: hiring more qualified and certified workers who are more productive
The construction industry is broad in nature. It does not only consist of the contractors of the subcontractors but it includes prominent professionals, such as engineers and the architects, who need to be highly qualified. For instance, civil engineers play a significant role in any building project and their know-how largely determines the outcome of a building; whether it will fail halfway during construction or whether it will last for years. A building company might employ a qualified civil engineer, who will, in turn, employ illegal immigrants who have not trained to build and this can compromise the success of the building. Being strict on immigration laws will reduce the number of the undocumented workers who have currently dominated the construction industry (Carrilo, 2017). As a result, construction companies will have no choice but to employ more of the native-born migrants who are highly skilled even though they might be expensive to hire. Employing workers who have been properly trained will ensure that the construction projects are of high quality to even stand out in the global level compared to when unskilled construction workers are hired. This will boost the construction industry as well as the U.S economy at large.
Leadership process for the immigration enforcement policy
President Donald Trump and his administration are largely responsible for the immigration enforcement policy. Trump issued an executive order to the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to employ more officers who will track down the illegal immigrants and take severe actions against them. Initially, during President Barack Obama’s time, the immigration laws, and specifically the deportation of illegal immigrants was not a big issue as it is currently. After signing the executive order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) complies and they produced a list of guidance whereby they prioritized the order of removal to depart the United States, for persons who live there illegally (Homeland Security, 2018). As such it can be said that the immigration officials, who are responsible for assessing whether a removal is necessary or not, seemed to back Trump’s agenda. The control border patrol (CBP) is also another body that is helping to enact the immigration enforcement policy as it has recruited more officers to guard the U.S-Mexico border and ensure that no Mexicans enter the U.S. In addition, the CBP is conducting an operational assessment that will help in determining an area appropriate for building a physical barrier in the Mexican border.
Overall, the construction industry’s workforce is largely made up of the undocumented immigrants. The immigration enforcement policy will negatively and positively affect the construction industry. The policy’s main aim is to deport and take severe measures for people who are residing in the United States without legal permits. By doing so, the construction companies will have to comply with the immigration policy by laying off and not employing the illegal immigrants in order to avoid being punished. Consequently, there will be shortage of workers in the construction industry as the native-born migrants are costly to hire. However, the benefit that the immigration enforcement policy will bring to the construction sector is that it will have more qualified workers who will be more effective since quality matters in this industry.
Carrilo, C. (2017). Construction industry would benefit from rebuilt immigration policy. SunSentinel.
Homeland Security. (2018). Immigration Enforcement. Department of Homeland Security.
Slowey, K. (2017). How Trump’s immigration crackdown could impact construction. Constructiondive.