ROSEMONT, Ill. - Reid Ribble, CEO of NRCA, said the new immigration proposal put forth by President Trump last week doesn’t go far enough when it comes to addressing the roofing industry’s worker shortage.

Trump provided a broad overview of the plan on Thursday, May 16.

Ribble issued a statement in reaction to the plan on Monday.

“NRCA welcomes President Trump’s effort to put forward a new plan to reform our badly outdated immigration system,” Ribble said.  “We agree the security and economic needs of U.S. citizens should be paramount in immigration policy and that moving toward a merit-based system makes sense given the demands of our economy.   

“Although the new plan moves in the right direction and we look forward to seeing more details, the proposal apparently only deals with high-tech sector of the economy and individuals with advanced degrees.  It is imperative our immigration system recognizes the need for legal immigration to address the chronic workforce shortages in the roofing industry, which are reaching crisis proportions and severely limiting economic growth,” Ribble said.  “Our immigration system must recognize the value of critical skills needed to work in industries such as roofing as embodied in the bipartisan Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act (H.R. 1740).

As reported by Roofing Contractor, the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act was among bills of which more than 400 roofing professionals from across the country sought congressional support during the recent Roofing Day in D.C.  Ribble was among those taking the message directly to members of congress and White House officials. Nearly 300 meetings were scheduled between roofing industry professionals and members of congress and/or their aides. 

The Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act aims to establish a visa system that is governed by market forces. In short, it calls for the allowance of more visas in times of robust economic activity. Participating employers would need to use E-Verify, be located in an area with unemployment of less than 5 percent, and “test the market and attest the position cannot otherwise be filled.” 

“Additionally, we need to provide immediate relief to qualifying individuals working legally in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS); failing to do so will only further destabilize our workforce.,” Ribble said.  “NRCA looks forward to working with the administration and congress to move forward on a bipartisan basis with immigration reform that fully addresses our security and economic needs.”