Amid all the tragic news from Boston and from Texas, the Senate Gang of 8 did release their Immigration Reform Bill yesterday. And it contains much of what we expected – a long and torturous “path to citizenship” that only starts after massive increases in border enforcement, e-Verify, and increasing billions of dollars of our tax money going to corporations that manufacture military equipment and operate for-profit detention centers.
At this point there are a few good crumbs in the bill, but those most likely will be negotiated away by the Democrats and the White House to please Republicans and corporations in order to claim a bipartisan victory.
Huge increases in border enforcement diverts billions in tax money from the public good – education, public services, maintaining infrastructure, providing housing and transportation, and creating jobs through programs like the WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps. Further increases in security along the borders will be devastating to our communities. Read more
“creates 200,000 new W visas per year for low-wage workers”
ABC OTUS News – March 29, 2013
Big business and major labor unions appeared ready Friday to end a fight over a new low-skilled worker program that had threatened to upend negotiations on a sweeping immigration bill in the Senate providing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who’s been brokering talks between the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that negotiators are “very close, closer than we have ever been, and we are very optimistic.” He said there were still a few issues remaining.
The talks stalled late last week amid a dispute over wages for workers in the new program, and senators left town for a two-week recess with the issue in limbo. Finger-pointing erupted between the AFL-CIO and the chamber, with each side accusing the other of trying to sink immigration reform, leaving prospects for a resolution unclear.
But talks resumed this week, and now officials from both sides indicate the wage issue has been largely resolved. An agreement would likely clear the way for a bipartisan group of senators to unveil legislation the week of April 8 to dramatically overhaul the U.S. immigration system, strengthening the border and cracking down on employers as well as remaking the legal immigration system while providing eventual citizenship to millions.
“We’re feeling very optimistic on immigration: Aspiring Americans will receive the road map to citizenship they deserve and we can modernize ‘future flow’ without reducing wages for any local workers, regardless of what papers they carry,” AFL-CIO spokesman Jeff Hauser said in a statement. “Future flow” refers to future arrivals of legal immigrants. Read more
Republicans and business interests want to make sure that any immigration reform bill includes a way for lesser-skilled workers to enter the country legally.
Crafting such a system, however, is tricky. Guest-worker programs have a history of labor abuses, and any new program will need to offer guarantees to combat those worries among organized labor and Democratic lawmakers.
So far, business and labor interests, represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, have come to a basic agreement on a new visa for lesser-skilled workers. Both sides have stressed that the proposed visa wouldn’t amount to another guest-worker program, since it would offer an eventual route to permanent legal status.
To see why guest worker programs have a bad reputation among labor groups, here are three examples of standout abuses:
1. The Bracero Program Read more
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