Immigration bill update

Immigration Update.

English: March for America brings 200,000 peop...

English: March for America brings 200,000 people to Washington, DC, to call for comprehensive immigration reform. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday, July 10th, House Republicans will convene a special meeting to determine their position and strategy on immigration reform. Since Republicans make up a majority of the House of Representatives, this meeting will have a profound influence on the future of immigration reform. If Republicans think they can get away without passing a bill, they won’t do one.
 
Two weeks ago, the Senate passed immigration reform with a robustly bipartisan 68-32 vote, and now the big question is what the House will do. So far, House Committees have approved five bills, none of which create a path to citizenship, and all of which contain provisions that would negatively impact our community members.

Rep.  Bob  Goodlatte,  (  R. Virginia – 6th) Chair of the House Judiciary Committee has a bill HR 1773 which would re-establish the prior bracero program (guest workers) with many  of its worst features, tying the work visa to a single farm corporation, company housing, controlled wages, a external “savings” bank, and more.  Goodlatte has also announced that legislation coming out of his House panel will not include a pathway to citizenship

WHAT IS THE AGRICULTURAL GUESTWORKER ACT?
The “AG” Act, H.R. 1773, would replace the current H-2A agricultural guestworker program with a new H-2C program. It fails to provide any opportunity for farmworkers to pursue a roadmap to citizenship. Instead, they would be required to return to their home country and could only come back to the U.S. as guestworkers, another second-class status. Families would be separated as spouses and children are provided no status. H.R. 1773 would eliminate nearly all protections currently in the H-2A program, allowing for mass exploitation, wage cuts and unsafe working conditions. Continue reading

Unions, community groups divide on immigration reform

Divisions on immigration bill.

Duane Campbellby Duane Campbell

Until last week there was  substantive unity between immigrants rights groups, community groups,  religious groups, and  major parts of organized labor in the effort to craft a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  Now, with the amendments and passage of S477, the Senate bill, this unity is challenged.   The draft of S477 by the Gang of Eight was  always a compromise. There is, for example, a redesigned  guest worker program,  the growth of a special status for H1 B hi tech workers,  enhancement of border enforcement,  a extended period of time required for application for legal status, and more.

Conservative Republican forces in the Senate amended the bill to achieve a massive  30 Billion  $ expansion of border enforcement.  The National Network for Immigrants Rights, a network of grass roots community groups, sharply criticized this developments and Presente, a new on-line group that claims to speak with the Latino community has called the bill unacceptable, while the big Washington D.C. lobbying groups such as the National Council de La Raza continue to support the bill.

Labor too is dividing. The national AFL-CIO praised the passage of S477 in the Senate, Richard Trumka  said,

The United States Senate today moved our country a big step closer to building a common sense immigration system that will allow millions of aspiring Americans to become citizens.  Continue reading