NPR : News

Filed Under:

Immigration Change Is One Step Closer To A Bill

A final deal on a changing immigration laws is at hand but still incomplete, according to two of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators collaborating on it.

On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona discussed a new agreement on a low-skilled worker program as a positive sign of progress, but both said there is more to be done.

That basic agreement was brokered Friday night between AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Tom Donohue, clearing one of the last — and perhaps largest — hurdles between the Gang of Eight and a concrete immigration bill.

"We're much closer with labor and business agreeing on this guest-worker plan," Flake said. "But that doesn't mean we've crossed every 'I' or dotted every 'T' or vice versa."

The debate between the AFL-CIO and the Chamber had centered on wages for workers in the hotel, food service and construction industries, among others. "With the agreement between business and labor, every major policy issue has been resolved," Schumer said.

But Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was more cautious with his optimism, as The Washington Post reports, calling the deal "premature."

"In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret," said Rubio in a statement issued on Sunday.

Over the weekend, Rubio also sent a letter to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, asking that the committee take its time with the bill's markup.

The Associated Press cited an AFL-CIO fact sheet to describe the new "W" visa worker program, set to go into effect in April of 2015.

"In year one of the program, 20,000 workers would be allowed in; in year two, 35,000; in year three, 55,000; and in year four, 75,000. Ultimately the program would be capped at 200,000 workers a year, but the number of visas would fluctuate, depending on unemployment rates, job openings, employer demand and data collected by a new federal bureau pushed by the labor movement as an objective monitor of the market. One-third of all visas in any year would go to businesses with under 25 workers.

"A 'safety valve' would allow employers to exceed the cap if they can show need and pay premium wages, but any additional workers brought in would be subtracted from the following year's cap.

"The workers could move from employer to employer and would be able to petition for permanent residency after a year, and ultimately seek U.S. citizenship. Neither is possible for temporary workers now."

The senators are expected to present a bill the week of April 8.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Traveling Pants' Author Tries Traveling In Time

NPR's Petra Mayer profiles YA author Ann Brashares, whose new book The Here and Now follows a young girl and her community who've escaped a terrible future via time travel and landed in our present.
NPR

Soup to Nuts, Restaurants Smoke It All

While you won't find cigarettes in restaurants anymore, some smoking isn't banned. It's not just meat, either; it's hot to smoke just about anything edible.
WAMU 88.5

Virginia Remains At Odds With Feds On Medicaid Expansion

Lawmakers in Virginia continue to resist the $9.6 billion Medicaid expansion on offer from the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act.

NPR

Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.