Business, labor make immigration deal
February 21st, 2013
02:14 PM ET
1 year ago

Business, labor make immigration deal

Washington (CNN) – The Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO reached an agreement Thursday over a visa program aimed at lesser-skilled workers, a flashpoint in the ongoing debate over immigration reform.

The announcement follows weeks of meetings between Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka over the issue, left out of the immigration plan unveiled by the White House.

The joint statement of principles outlined elements both sides sought and acknowledged more work is necessary to turn their ideas into legislation.

Under the agreement, American citizens will learn of low-wage job opportunities first, a perceived win for labor. Employers will be able to hire foreign workers regardless of the state of unemployment in the United States, a perceived win for business. And both sides agreed to gather additional data about labor markets and demographics to aid in future employment deficiencies, according to the statement.

"We are now in the middle - not the end - of this process, and we pledge to continue to work together and with our allies and our representatives on Capitol Hill to finalize a solution that is in the interest of this country we all love," the release read.

The progress between the two groups shows that support for immigration reform is "widespread."

"This is an urgent national priority and Congress should act accordingly," Blair Latoff Holmes, senior director of communications at the Chamber, said in a statement.

President Barack Obama met with representatives from both sides earlier in the month as they worked toward a deal. Labor was concerned about workers from outside the United States taking jobs otherwise available American workers and business was intent on keeping a flow of workers into the country.

Thursday's message from the Chamber and AFL-CIO will likely help shepherd an agreement on the controversial topic while plans from lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the White House are debated.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the statement of principles is the latest example of progress on immigration reform but would not say if the president would support the proposals for low-skilled workers.

"But we're focused on the bill the Senate hopefully will produce soon as part of this effort," Carney said. "I'm not going to prejudge a bill that has not been written."

A spokesman for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" working on immigration reform, questioned the president's position over a guest-worker program.

"An effective guest-worker program is a key principle agreed to by the bipartisan group of senators, and we are working out details in the ongoing Senate discussions," Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said. "Given the bipartisan support for a guest worker program, the President's continued refusal to support it is puzzling."


Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    That means they are focused on a bill written entirely by the Democrats........in whose interest, immigration reform provides a path to power for the Democratic Party, that would be absolute........and establish a de facto dictatorship in America.

    February 21, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    The GOP/Teatrolls' Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), has already promised that any immigration reform bill that includes a pathway to citizenship is not going to pass committee (his committee is where it has to go) and will not pass the House, and that the GOP/Teatrolls will do everything they can to kill it.

    Shorter GOP/Teatrolls: "Read our lips...No New Voters (if they aren't likely to vote for us)."

    February 21, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    That means they are focused on a bill written entirely by the Democrats........in whose interest, immigration reform provides a path to power for the Democratic Party, that would be absolute........and establish a de facto dictatorship in America.
    --------------–
    Obviously, you do not understand what the 'US Chamber of Commerce' does and who it represents. Please, carry on.

    February 21, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "That means they are focused on a bill written entirely by the Democrats........in whose interest, immigration reform provides a path to power for the Democratic Party, that would be absolute........and establish a de facto dictatorship in America."

    That "reasoning," such as it is, only works if you start from the premise that the GOP/Teatrolls recognize that they will never, ever change their party platform ina manner that would actually make it more appealing to latinos and other minority groups. We've seen that this premise is so far correct: all they've tried to do so far is repackage and lipstick their same old platform in an attempt to turn it into a trojan horse the minority community will mistakenly let through the door.

    February 21, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Dems...shoot with their lips....

    Obama "I shoot guns too"...But mostly Obama shoots with his lips when it comes to take "Leadership"

    February 21, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Searcher

    So, Laura Bush was complaining about a add featuring her as a proponent of gay marriage. And CNN turned off the comments after only 19 comments were posted. What's up with that?

    February 21, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. rob

    The last thing Dems want is a bi partisan deal reached on this issue. They want to continue to use it as a club against the Republicans. After Rubio announced his plan which was very similar the Presidents, the President immediately flew to nevada and moved the goalpost back forcing Rubio to denounce him. this is pure politics at its worst.

    Everything ther President is doing now is focused solely on the 2014 mid terms. A Dem takeover of the House would spell the end of any resistance to their agenda of "fundamentaly transforming America". I pray the American people have the sense to rise up and vote for Republicans in the House and especially in the Senate.

    February 21, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. pam

    The ONLY way to curb illegal immigration is to start prosecuting employers who hire them. Start fining them heavily and putting repeat offenders in jail. It is just as illegal to hire an illegal as it is for them to cross over illegally. I have no problem with them coming over for jobs, but employers are paying them cheap wages to avoid paying minimum wage to any other worker and not collecting taxes. Greedy jerks.

    February 21, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. ghostriter

    Rick , I expected a much better batch of drivel. You gotta step your game up, buddy.

    I just knew you are some other tea nut would complain about the fact that businesses will still be able to use foreign labor if they wish. But of course, Rush has not issued a proclamation on this yet.

    Stay tuned. We can safely say that republicans will be silent on this until they are ordered to be mad about this.

    February 21, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. gop usa

    The only thing the gop should make a deal on is on how cheap we can haul off all of the illegal Mexicans and latinos back to the Border,throw them in the back of cattle trucks for all we care........ Anchor babys like Rubio should not even be involved with this,all he is doing is pandering to the illegal Mexicans because he is an Anchor baby.....Most repubs in my area hate Rubio,he care more about his Mexican illegal friends more than american here.........Deport them all,Rubio can deport himself too

    February 21, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    gop usa

    The only thing the gop should make a deal on is on how cheap we can haul off all of the illegal Mexicans and latinos back to the Border,throw them in the back of cattle trucks for all we care
    -----------------------
    How do you plan to pay for that? What makes you think that the Mexican government is just going to sit back and allow you to dump a few million people across their border?

    Did you know that many of these illegals from Central and South America were born in areas where no formal birth records are kept? In other words, when a country tells you that they have no record of such-and-such individual, they will be telling you the truth. Now what do you do? Oh yeah, pack 'em into the back of a semi-trailer and ship 'em to Mexico anyway?

    February 21, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. gop usa

    The gop that pander to Illegal Mexicans will get voted out,This is pandering in hopes to get votes from the Mexicans,this is why they have the Token Rubio involved. Americans are being taken to the cleaners by these illegals. Wages are being hurt by their scab labor,the shoddy work they perform,jobs being lost to them because they work for pennies. Not to mention they bankrupt our schools and communitys,they lower home values because they turn our citys into Mexican ghetto slums like in Mexico. After all they steal from the American taxpayer they wave their Mexican Flag in our faces at every turn while they demand Amnesty.............Its time we boot them all and vote out any lawmaker who panders to them. We need laws like in Arizona for every state.

    February 21, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Rick , I expected a much better batch of drivel. You gotta step your game up, buddy."

    I blame the queue cards.

    February 21, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Gotta tell ya, "gop usa,"...it's posts like yours that give us full faith that the GOP/Teatrolls are going to summarily hang themselves on this issue. But don't worry...despite all your recent efforts to suppress and dilute minority votes, your lackeys on the SCOTUS are sure to try to get rid of the Voting Rights Act for you, so you can spread the attempts to kill minority voting power to states that aren't even traditionally/historically home to such racist, bigotted discrimination. You better hope that actually provides the "final solution" you're looking for.

    February 21, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. gop usa

    The solution is this,we Auction off all their property they obtained here illegally,fine the employers and this should be more than enough to pay for deportation. If there is a will there is a way. This is about people invading our lands and breaking our laws,hurting real Americans and their communitys. Yes we can dump them off at the border,lets see how Mexico likes it for a change........

    February 21, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |