Some builder and contractors feeling effects of immigration politics

The Austin area is booming, that's no secret. Houses are popping up everywhere you look. But with the current political debate could that slow down?

“The construction industry in the state of Texas is 50 percent undocumented,” said Jose Garza, executive director at Workers Defense Project.

In a polarized political climate, some builders and contractors we spoke to said some workers have stopped coming in for work, fearing ice, some come in but are still worried. Garza says he is not surprised.

“They are taking precautions to make sure that they are prepared for this new world that we are living in,” said Garza.

A local construction association says last week during the day without an immigrant protest, they heard a mixture of things, from no effect to a large effect.

"I heard reports of a few people haven't shown up or were still working, and then I've heard some secondhand accounts of, 'This is having an impact on our jobs,’" said Phil Thoden, president and C.E.O. of The Associated General Contractors of America, Austin Chapter.

The Workers Defense Project has been receiving several calls from immigrant families, asking what to do.
The area is growing, and according to AGC, there are not enough people going into the construction field.

“You also factor in all the construction going on in Austin, there is just an unprecedented demand. The immigrant workforce has been a strong part of the Texas construction workforce,” said Thoden.

Garza says he sometimes gets calls from business owners as well, and he is hopeful there will be a political compromise.

“We are seeing more and more businesses in every segment of the economy, business owners standing up and saying this is too far, this is not who we are and this is not helpful for our business or economy,” said Garza.

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