American labour confederations AFL-CIO and CtW agree on a proposal for immigration reform which entails legalisation for undocumented immigrants, but rejects large-scale temporary immigration programmes, the New York Times reports. The agreement could help Obama get immigration reform enacted. However, the business community opposes the proposal.
According to the unions, legalising the seven million undocumented immigrants who are already working in the US is the most effective way to protect labour standards for all workers. They oppose guest worker programmes “because immigrants are tied to one employer and cannot change jobs no matter how abusive the conditions, so union officials say they undercut conditions for American workers”.
For business representatives, expanding the guest worker programmes is essential. “If the unions think they’re going to push a bill through without the support of the business community, they’re crazy”, a spokesperson of the US Chamber of Commerce told the NYT.
Photo Araceli Arroyo