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  • Blogging: How Many Will Die if the AFL-CIO Can Scrap the Guest Worker Program? by Greg Siskind

    Bloggings on Immigration Law and Policy

    by Greg Siskind

    How Many Will Die if the AFL-CIO Can Scrap the Guest Worker Program?

    Earlier today, Ana Avendaño of the AFL-CIO said a guest worker program wasn't an important part of immigration reform. And as I've pointed out in several posts in recent days, the AFL-CIO has been doing everything it can to ensure a guest worker program is as small as possible and so difficult to use that it wil largely be non-existent.

    But maybe she should remember the more than 5,500 people who have died crossing the border over the last fifteen years as enforcement has tightened. Just this past year, the death rate accelerated by 27%. So many people are dying because we don't have a guest worker program and people take their chances out of sheer desperation to work. The AFL-CIO talks about preventing workers from being exploited, but not having a legal way for companies to hire workers is a far worse alternative.

    The recent National Foundation for American Policy report on this subject says it all:

    In 2007, Congress debated and failed to pass an immigration reform bill. “Poison pill” restrictions on a new temporary visa program favored by businesses have been cited as a key reason for the bill’s failure. Since the failure of Congress to pass immigration reform legislation in 2007, more than 2,000 people have died near theSouthwest border. If another 5 years goes by without Congress approving new legal temporary visas for workersit is predictable that an additional 2,000 people will die simply because they wanted to work in America.

    I'll say it again. The AFL-CIO is supporting legalizing workers already here because they know that train has left the station and they don't want to be perceived as being anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant. They know they will continue their downward membership spiral unless they appeal to the millions who will be legalized. But they also are kowtowing to their existing member unions who want to keep out future immigrants by whatever means possible. And they're trying to deflect attention from this fact by saying that the Republicans and the Chamber are trying to kill a bill. But I'm a pretty loyal Democrat and can tell you this is baloney.If we don't get a guest worker program, it will be the AFL-CIO's fault and if we don't get a guest worker program immigration reform will fail. And the AFL-CIO will then spend its time and resources trying to convince everyone they had nothing to do with it.

    The unions need to get on board in favor of a reasonable and generous work visa program so we can finally get control of our border, end the needless dying and make sure America's employers have the workers they need to keep this country moving.


    AFL-CIO Prepared To Ditch Future Flow Section of CIR and Kill Reform Process

    [Update: Politico is reporting the same thing as Hesson. They're saying Avedano "said a temporary worker program shouldn’t be necessary for lawmakers to take up comprehensive immigration reform legislation — a position that puts her at odds with Senate Republicans, who insist that any bill include such a program." So there you are. The AFL-CIO is perfectly content to kill this process.]

    Ted Hesson at ABC News is saying on Twitter that Ana Avedano from the AFL-CIO doesn't seem to think a guest worker program is all that important (even though this would be the end of immigration reform and most of the Republicans in the Senate would walk away if that section is left out (quite understandably). On the other hand, the Hill has just posted a story quoting Ms. Avedano saying almost the opposite.

    I've blogged several times in the last week that the AFL-CIO is NOT pro-immigration. They are only negotiating out of fear of being saddled with that label and would like to be perceived as friendly to Hispanics while at the same time keeping as many of them from entering the country as possible in the years to come.


    Anti-Fraud Enhancements of E-Verify Delayed Due to Sequester

    Some of the loudest proponents of the sequester program are the same people screaming the loudest to spend more on immigration enforcement. I'll be interested in hearing their reaction to this news.


    Tea Party Leaders Falling in Line on Immigration Reform

    The anti-immigrant NumbersUSA reports the happy news.


    House Gang or Eight Might Introduce Bill Before Senate Finishes

    Jon Yarmuth, the Kentucky Democrat, says that negotiations are almost complete and his colleagues are almost ready to announce the results of their efforts. The breaking news here is the suggestion that the House might start working on their bill instead of waiting on the Senate. From Elise Foley at Huffington Post:

    "I think we're actually very close to being able to come forward with a package of very important commonsense reform proposals," Yarmuth said on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." "We've really resolved all of the truly contentious issues, so now it's a lot of detail work and some loose ends."

    The House group -- which MSNBC listed as Yarmuth and Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), John Carter (R-Texas) and Sam Johnson (R-Texas) -- has been working quietly on an immigration reform plan for years, but remained secretive about when and how they will release it.

    Yarmuth said one of the biggest questions is how they ensure their bill can pass the Republican-controlled House, which will be a heavier lift than the Democratic-controlled Senate. The so-called "gang of eight" in the upper chamber plans to unveil a bill next month and has already put out a framework, but the House group still must decide whether to wait until a Senate bill passes or introduce their own legislation sooner.

    They may be leaning toward the latter, Yarmuth hinted.

    About The Author

    http://www.visalaw.com/gregpic2.jpg Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at gsiskind@visalaw.com.

    The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.
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