On August 20, 2013, ImmigrationWorks sponsored an event in Houston with House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ted Poe and a panel of Texas employers who rely on less-skilled immigrant workers. Among the sectors represented: construction, landscaping, restaurants and real estate. The business message: every regional labor market is different, and employers need a flexible, easy-to-use guest worker program that responds in real-time to varying labor market conditions.

Tamar Jacoby president, ImmigrationWorks USA

"Rep. Poe has focused on the most important part of immigration reform, which is fixing the legal immigration system so that it works for the future
for employers who want a legal workforce, for immigrants who want to come work in America legally and for the country so that we can let in the immigrants we want and need."




MODERATOR Rep. Ted Poe member of Congress

“Some members of the House and I are working on designing a temporary guest worker program. But we're creating a program that will encourage employers to hire U.S. workers first by making it more economically beneficial to hire Americans than foreign workers."

Gregg T. Reyes president & CEO, Reytec Construction Resources, Inc.

"Construction is hard work. It's sunup to sundown and you're exposed to the elements. It's difficult to find Americans who are willing to do the job. Foreign-born workers account for 45 percent of our workforce."


Ric Campo chairman & CEO, Camden Property Trust

"A guest worker program definitely needs to be market-based. We shouldn't give 10,000 visas to Houston or a certain number of visas to a particular state. If the economy is doing well, we need more visas, and if it's not doing as well, we need less. And every place has a different need for workers. Houston is not the same as Detroit."


Michael Shine owner, Frank's Americana Revival

"The hospitality industry has changed over the past 38 years. We used to have a pool of applicants that included college students, high school kids and dads looking for second incomes. That's not the case anymore. When we advertise job openings, eight to ten people apply each week and seven or eight of them are immigrants. The vast majority of our line cooks, chefs and busboys are foreign-born workers."


Jay Williams vice president & general manager, Landscape Art, Inc

"We try to recruit U.S. workers. For the past 15 years, we have placed advertisements in the Houston Chronicle and posted job openings on the Texas Workforce Commission website. But currently I have only two American workers."

Click HERE to listen to a recording of the event.