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Mexican migrant worker Javier Gonzalez and his wife Guadalupe pick watermelons in Dome Valley near Yuma, Arizona June 18, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri
Will an immigration deal protect immigrants-as-workers?
Unions really want to see immigration reform, but they also want to make sure it both protects immigrants in their work lives and prevents employers from using guest workers to undermine labor standards for all workers. So while we can expect unions to welcome movement toward immigration reform in the Senate, there are also some details they'll be waiting to hear. That's reflected in statements that have come out—and in the relative dearth of union statements on immigration reform in my inbox today.
SEIU backs bipartisan immigration framework. "We know that there is still a long way to go and that details will be worked out."
@mmurraypolitics via TweetDeck
SEIU adds in statement, "[B]ut we are very encouraged by the Senate's push forward. "
@mmurraypolitics via TweetDeck
Calling the Senate framework "an important and long overdue first step," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka also pointed to the need for more details, saying in a statement that "Much remains to be seen on the details of that path, and each detail can have significant consequences for millions of aspiring citizens." He continued:
For instance, we are concerned that making the citizenship path consistent on proof of employment at the time enforcement measures are deemed completed could be problematic. Depending on implementation, the principles could potentially exclude millions of workers—those who care for our children and our elderly, mow our lawns and repair our homes, drive taxis—who cannot prove employment because they have been forced to work off the clock or have no employer by virtue of being independent contractors. It would also exclude immigrants who are employers themselves. We hope that this sort of acknowledgement of economic reality informs the actual bill drafting process.  
Some Republicans agreeing to some framework for an immigration deal is good news, but it's definitely not a signal to stop fighting for the best deal possible. You know Republicans won't stop.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:44 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  More green cards for highly skilled workers (4+ / 0-)

    Isn't going to do much for agricultural workers.
    But it will help keep salaries down for computer programmers.

    Just what we need. /snark.

    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

    by Helpless on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:22:10 PM PST

  •  There's something sick about this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, IT Professional
    making the citizenship path consistent on proof of employment
    The guys hanging around Home Depot don't qualify?
    Seems like whenever I have a contractor do something that involves heavy lifting (pool refinish, spa replacement, pavers, ...) there's at least one extra guy who I suspect the contractor picked up there.  

    Non working spouses too?

    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

    by Helpless on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:30:52 PM PST

  •  That these groups are optimistic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, HeyMikey

    makes me optimistic. But yes, keep fighting as always.

  •  I'm skeptical (6+ / 0-)

    For instance one of the provisions speaks of protecting workers "by ensuring strong labor protections."

    Do we honestly believe this Congress would propose and enforce such "protections?"

    Hell, our nation currently isn't even providing such protections for current citizens.

    “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

    by Sagebrush Bob on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:32:36 PM PST

    •  There's a logic to it, though. (0+ / 0-)

      Even if you don't mean unions.

      In an economy where the middle class hurts both for lack of jobs and lack of pay, eliminating an avenue of sub-market labor can only be a good thing.

      Protecting immigrant workers is the same as protecting everybody else, and...

      funny thing about those rich guys:

      They can all vote ten times and lose in a landslide to a veritable army of not-so-rich guys.

      It is not in the interest of the Republican party to have a situation that invites questions about real opportunities abounding for those willing to work hard.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:37:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Republicans and Democrats can be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey

        quite bipartisan -- when it comes to serving their corporate overlords.

        “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

        by Sagebrush Bob on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:47:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but he who has not the office has not the (0+ / 0-)

          power.

          Sometimes -- not nearly often enough -- things reach a point where self preservation requires paying some attention to the voters.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:51:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He who has not the office (0+ / 0-)

            gets rewarded with a sinecure with the corporate overlords. And the voters usually are picking between a Demopublican and an a Republicrat.

            “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

            by Sagebrush Bob on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:49:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Legalization helps US workers, unions-NOT Soc Sec. (0+ / 0-)

              (1) Undocumented people drive down wages & benefits. Legit workers have to work for less, or give up benefits, or look the other way when employers violate workplace safety rules, etc., to try to compete.

              (2) It's practically impossible, I assume, to unionize undocumented workers. I assume the employer will just fire undocumented workers who try to organize, or call ICE. Thus it's harder for competing US workers (or US co-workers) to unionize.

              (3) Every undocumented person working under a fake SSN is paying Social Security contributions for benefits they'll never be able to collect. They're helping to prop up the system for the rest of us. I'm not one who buys into Social Security panic; the system needs modest tweaks, not radical changes. But if nobody's working under fake SSNs, then Social Security will need to be tweaked a little more.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:31:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Something to remember (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, JesseCW

    65 years ago - The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon

    All they will call you will be deportees

    Hobbs: "How come we play war and not peace?" Calvin: "Too few role models."

    by BOHICA on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:33:42 PM PST

  •  Borrowing workers -- the GOP way (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    starduster, JesseCW, HeyMikey, lady blair

    The Republicans will gladly sign off on anything that increases their cheap labor pool without diluting their voting strength.  It's really as brutal and as simple as that.  Work visas and guest worker programs suit the Republican agendas; green cards and paths to citizenship not so much.  In the end pro immigration people need to hold out for a solution that includes both immigrants paying payroll taxes and getting long-term residency AND getting on a path to citizenship.  Most of the immigrants want residency, which, not incidentally, would also put a stop to under-the-table, wage-destroying black market employment; Social Security and Medicare would benefit greatly from the cash injection; and citizenship will ensure that never again can a political party run against a whole category of people and expect to be competitive.

  •  Requiring workers to prove employment simply (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional, HeyMikey

    makes them indentured servants until their status is finalized.

    It smacks of "indigent" statutes of the Old South.

    "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

    by JesseCW on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:57:37 PM PST

  •  We don't want second class citizens (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, HeyMikey

    That is my big concern.  These folks should quickly get to full citizenship and be able to vote.  In addition, I am concerned about this notion of back taxes.  What if they don't have the money?

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:33:53 PM PST

  •  Open Borders (0+ / 0-)

    We had open borders in the 1800s.
    We need to return to that status.

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