WASHINGTON - The Associated General Contractors of America says it supports increased border security and a guest-worker program for immigrants.

"The first step to enacting effective immigration reform legislation is enforcing our borders, but that can't be the final step," said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the association. "Congress needs to produce legislation that also provides a new guest-worker program and earned legalization."

AGC said it believes that any legislation should allow U.S. construction companies to recruit immigrant workers when U.S. workers are not available to fill their needs.

The association added a new visa program should be valid for a long enough time frame to ensure that the training and investment put forth by an employer is not lost.

It supports requiring immigrants to pay fines, learn English, stay employed, pay taxes and complete criminal background checks before applying for work permits.