Politico – Business balks at immigration deal

A deal between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor groups on visas for low-skilled workers was supposed to clear a path for an immigration reform package in the Senate. Instead, some business groups are grumbling about the deal and they’re gearing up for a lobbying battle on Capitol Hill — where powerful interests helped doom immigration reform over the same issue before.

On Wednesday, the construction industry was the first to go public, saying they are “deeply concerned” about the temporary worker program and that the cap on construction visas is “simply unrealistic and destined to fail.”

Other industries are expected to make announcements opposing the deal in the coming days.

Several business lobbyists told POLITICO that many industries oppose the plan, but are hesitant to put out statements before seeing legislative language. Others have kept their powder dry because they worry about other key provisions — like employer verification — that are still under discussion.

Labor unions successfully lobbied to cap the number of low-skilled foreign workers allowed in the U.S. at 200,000. The construction industry, which has suffered high unemployment in the economic downturn, was specifically singled out with limits put on the number of visas that can be awarded to construction companies.

The chamber — the lead negotiator for business — released a statement after the deal became public this weekend that didn’t fully endorse it.

Randy Johnson of the chamber explained the group’s position in detail Wednesday.

“To eliminate any confusion on the matter, the U.S. Chamber believes the construct for a new lesser-skilled visa category that the Gang of 8 has developed is the blueprint for a sound and workable program for the business community,” he said. “The new W-visa classification features a streamlined process for employers to register job openings that can be filled by temporary foreign workers, while still ensuring that American workers get first crack at every job and that wages paid are the greater of actual or prevailing wage levels. Importantly, this new visa structure sets the groundwork for moving forward with other important parts of immigration reform.”

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This entry was posted in Border Bulletin, Congress, Immigration Reform 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Politico – Business balks at immigration deal

  1. R4i Gold says:

    Awsome site! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also.

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