Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Strange bedfellows: Business, labor on immigration

WASHINGTON — Unlikely allies, business and labor leaders joined in support of the White House’simmigration overhaul efforts Tuesday while also launching high-stakes negotiations to overcome an issue that has split them before — creating a guest-worker program to ensure future immigrants come to the U.S. legally.

The broad agreement on a need for immigration changes and a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already here is driven largely by self-interest. Both business and labor see an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system as a way to boost economic competitiveness with other nations while increasing the ranks of workers and union members.

For President Barack Obama, a partnership between factions that have often been at odds — both with each other and with the White House — allows him to turn up pressure on Congress and try to isolate congressional Republicans who oppose parts of an immigration overhaul. Obama held separate private meetings at the White House on Tuesday with labor leaders and top business executives.

“This is all very encouraging to have labor and business come together to explore what could be some common ground,” said Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, a leading immigrationrights groups. Murguia and other immigration activists joined Obama’s meeting with labor groups.

Despite such optimistic public statements, the fragile business-labor alliance is still in question as the Chamber of Commerce meets with the AFL-CIO and other labor groups privately to hammer out details of how to deal with future immigrants who come to the U.S. to work. The labor and business groups have been tasked by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., with reaching a deal within weeks that can be included in legislation being crafted by a bipartisan Senate group, officials say.

The guest worker issue helped scuttle the last attempt at a comprehensive overhaul of immigration law in 2007. If the parties can’t reach a deal, senators and their staffs are prepared to write temporary-worker language themselves, said a Senate aide, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the aide was not authorized to discuss the private negotiations publicly.

The Senate negotiating group has included a guest-worker program in its immigration proposals, but Obama has not. That omission has drawn criticism from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a key negotiator on the Republican side. Republicans view the omission as a cave-in to labor supporters, who see a substantial new guest-worker program as a possible threat to Americans who are seeking jobs.

White House officials say the president is open to a guest-worker program, so long as it protects workers and responds to workforce demands, not politics. That puts the White House in line with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who said following his meeting with Obama on Tuesday that they discussed “a data-driven system that is actually driven by needs and not by aspirations of employers.”

Even if overhaul legislation makes it through the Senate, trouble lies ahead in the Republican-controlled House.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Tuesday the nation’s immigration system is “in desperate need of repair” as he opened an overhaul hearing. But he also said there are many questions about how any large-scale legalization program would work, how much it would cost and how it would prevent illegalimmigration in future.

The chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, questioned whether another approach besides citizenship might be possible: “Are there options we should consider between the extremes of mass deportation and a pathway to citizenship for those not lawfully present in the United States?” he asked.

Obama has found himself at odds with both business and labor during his first term. Business leaders, in particular those representing Wall Street banks, recoiled at the president’s financial regulation law and his labeling of bankers as “fat cats.” Labor unions opposed Obama’s pursuit of free trade agreements, as well as his decision to hold his party’s convention last summer in North Carolina, a right-to-work-state that makes it more difficult for unions to organize.

By bringing both factions together to support one of the president’s top second-term priorities, the White House sees an opportunity to pressure Republicans to back the president — and set the GOP up to carry the blame if the current negotiations fail.

Underscoring the risk for Republicans, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Tuesday embraced “an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home.” It appeared to be a change for Cantor, who voted against DREAM Act legislation to allow a path to citizenship for certain immigrants brought here as youths.

The guest worker program addresses what’s called “future flow” — the influx of migrants to the U.S. that’s sure to come whether or not Congress passes an immigration bill.

If Congress does act to provide a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the country, it’s just as important to deal with future immigration, advocates say. Otherwise, the country will again find itself home to many illegal immigrants. A major criticism of the 1986 immigration law signed by President Ronald Reagan, which offered legalization to some 3 million illegal immigrants, was that it did not deal with the issue of future immigration — allowing today’s problems to emerge.

In 2007, comprehensive immigration legislation foundered after an amendment was added to end a temporary worker program after five years, threatening a key priority of the business community. The amendment passed by just one vote, 49-48. Obama, a senator at the time, joined in the narrow majority voting to end the program after five years.

The U.S. does have several temporary worker programs already, but they’re viewed as cumbersome and outdated, and experts say a large proportion of migrant workers in agricultural and other low-skill fields like landscaping or housekeeping are in the U.S. illegally.

For business and labor, the question is how to come to an agreement on how many workers to let in, under what circumstances and how much they would be paid. Another key issue: whether and how they would be able to attain eventual permanent residency, the critical step toward citizenship.

“We have to get to the question of what is the structure for the future and what rights do the workers that get here in the future, what rights do they have,” said Eliseo Medina, secretary treasurer of the Service Employees International Union.

For business groups, a temporary worker program is a key piece of any immigration legislation.

“It’s not as if employers want to hire guest workers. We want to hire Americans. It’s only when we can’t find them that we hire the guest workers,” said Shawn McBurney, senior vice president of government affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

The Senate aide said that lawmakers are eyeing somewhere in the range of 200,000 to 400,000 visas for low-skilled temporary workers, including for agriculture and non-agriculture. Unlike in current programs, negotiators are also eyeing ways to peg the numbers to labor market demands. Employers would have to show they could not find American workers for the jobs.

The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute and others have proposed the creation of a permanent commission that would make recommendations about where and when workers are needed, an idea said to be under consideration as the business and labor groups negotiate. However, business groups are skeptical of the idea.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

‘Same Time, Next Year’ opens in Benicia

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘We Got Next’ Comedy Tour stops at Dimitri’s

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Man to stand trial in rural Vacaville killing

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Puppies to take part in Vallejo dog show

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Afisivalu announces run for Fairfield council

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Tonnesen seeks Fairfield City Council seat

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Family matriarch celebrates 100th birthday

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Barbecue brings big crowd, progress to Parkway Gardens

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 6 Comments | Gallery

Assist-A-Grad wraps up interviews

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Napa County bridge to close for work

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Town hall on crime set in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
Crash shuts I-80 offramp to Highway 12

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 4 Comments | Gallery

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for April 18, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Putin’s choice of words shed light on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Who gained, and what, at Ukraine talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Ukrainian unity on display with peaceful rallies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Salmon released in California river restoration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Jury convicts husband in Iraqi woman’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
1 dead, 1 injured in California boating accident

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

BART fined $210,000 for worker deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Military shell prompted evacuation of hundreds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California health care sign-ups exceed projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

Dirty creek, old purse solve four-decade mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3 1/2 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Chelsea Clinton expecting first child this fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Holder: Hate crimes ‘an affront to who we are’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

Peru volcano prompts evacuation of 4,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Nigeria: Fate of 115 abducted girls unknown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Samples collected from oil slick not from plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

S. Sudan: 12 die after mob attacks UN base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Confused, chaotic scene described on sinking ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Food brings back fond memories

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Internationally out of touch

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 4 Comments

 
Watch out for grandson scam

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 8 Comments

Why so much spent to find a plane?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 18, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for April 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My husband tells our sons that they don’t need to listen to me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B13

 
Horoscopes for April 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B13

.

Entertainment

 
Week in preview April 18-24, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Review: ‘Heaven Is for Real’ heartfelt but dull

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lost radio program featuring Hank Williams found

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
‘Real Housewives’ TV star faces battery charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Ill, hospitalized Miley Cyrus postpones more shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Dodgers get to Bumgarner early for win over Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Badminton update: Rodriguez, Armijo head toward post season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7 | Gallery

MEL boys roll to easy win over SCAC

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Short-handed SCAC girls ‘gut out’ all-star win over MEL

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Sharks beat Kings 6-3 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Dodgers’ Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Miguel Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Sponsorship woes put Swan Racing future in doubt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Ex-quarterback McNabb spends day in Arizona jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Season wrapup: Sacramento Kings’ ‘new era’ off to slow start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Clippers-Warriors series billed as must-see TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kuchar builds on Masters momentum, shares Heritage lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
War of words in Northwestern-athletes’ union fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Shumenov gets big chance in ring against ageless Hopkins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Montreal team sign Chad Johnson to 2-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Seattle 1B Choi banned 50 games for positive test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Boston Marathon makes room for more runners

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Stanford takes lead at LPGA LOTTE tournament

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Vanden clinches at least share of SCAC boys tennis title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Toyota Camry gets a top-to-bottom makeover

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Hot models at this year’s New York Auto Show

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Judge won’t order recalled GM cars to be parked

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Walmart jumps into the money transfer biz, loudly

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13