Let’s be clear. We aren’t advocating illegal immigration or a return to the industry’s unspoken “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allowed builders to exploit unauthorized immigrants. But here’s the economic reality: Uncertain immigration policy is hurting you in the pocketbook. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University estimates that a $1,000 increase in costs quickly prices thousands of would-be homebuyers out of the market. And houses that should be built but aren’t act “as a drag on new starts,” Robert Kramp, director of research and analysis for commercial real estate firm CBRE, recently told The Dallas Morning News. Markets work best when supply and demand are near equilibrium. Our economy needs a vibrant construction industry and a functioning immigration policy that meets the demands of the marketplace. By the numbers 41 percent — Share of immigrants in construction trades in Texas, the second-highest percentage behind California. 24 percent — Share of immigrants in construction trades nationwide, up from 19 percent in 2004. 100,000 — Workforce shortage in construction trades statewide. 38,000 — Workforce shortage in construction trades in North Texas. SOURCES: National Association of Home Builders, American Community Survey What’s your view? Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.