90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, April 1, 2013

Immigration Deal Would Bring In ‘Guest’ Workers

Big business and big labor have settled on a political framework for an immigration overhaul. Now, the lawmakers writing bipartisan legislation need to resolve the nitty-gritty – and keep their parties’ political flanks mollified.

Business and labor negotiators late last week agreed on a deal that would allow tens of thousands of low-skilled workers into the country and pay them fair wages. It was a last major sticking point before the deal goes to the eight senators – four Democrats, four Republicans – to sign off on the details and propose legislation. They are looking to set in motion the most dramatic changes to the faltering U.S. immigration system in more than two decades.

“There are a few details yet. But conceptually, we have an agreement between business and labor, between ourselves that has to be drafted,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The so-called Gang of Eight’s plan would provide a new class of worker visas for low-skilled workers, secure the border, crack down on employers, improve legal immigration and create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants already here.

Schumer negotiated the deal between Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka during a late Friday phone call. Under the compromise, the government would create a new “W” visa for low-skilled “guest” workers, who would earn the same wages paid to Americans or the prevailing wages for the industry they’re working in, whichever is higher. The Labor Department would determine prevailing wage based on customary rates in specific localities, so it would vary from city to city.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Publicservant Jb

    I believe that entire deal to be a slap in the face to all of the unemployed people who are U.S. Citizens and also the homeless. I expect an outpour of rage from our veterans who return home that will seek employment as well. Come on Americans, stop allowing Washington to destroy our country!!!!

  • creaker

    This is not so much a path to citizenship as it is a way for employers to legally employ cheap, imported workers.

    And people won’t stop coming here illegally just because they did not get their “guest worker” visa.

  • Raoul Ornelas

    ‘Immigration Deal Would Bring In ‘Guest’ Workers’THIRTEEN YEARS! Give me a Big Bill Clinton I feel your pain break! What was refreshing concerning this interview was the mention of the Bracero Act with a self serving explanation.The reason these guest worker programs don’t work is that they do work well for the wealthy whom demand cheap labor in order to make huge amounts of money without paying a proper wage to home labor. These deals are deals made with Dr. Faust. They don’t work because it is unnatural for a worker to raise a family at a distance. After a day in the field picking produce for the wealthy and for a market the picker cannot afford, for 12 to 16 hours a day, then at days end there is no family to go home to, living in a ramshackle rental with rudimentary plumbing  is not a workable solution. Yet if one has an ambitious bend to make huge money at all cost, one does not take into account the negative social aspects of the workers he or she imports into the country for sake of money. In many respects the Bracero Act is a Sociopathic idea that creates short term relief for the ambitious and creates long term affects in the future. The Bracero Act was supposed to end around 1961, however, like heroin, the wealthy could not live without cheap labor, yet they have the gaul to blame the problem the created on the wealthy. The upshot, is this is not just an American problem. When the Spaniards invaded Mexico, they were amazed at what they saw. Mexico is one of the great bread baskets of the planet. Their labor force at the time of the Spanish invasion could produce all sorts of crops. Without Mexican tomatoes, beans, and corn Italy would not have all of their famous foods. Later when Alexander Von Humbolt visited Mexico in the 1800s he too was amazed by this garden of Eden. Whether it was the Spaniards or the Americans, the true Mexican population of Mexico has been mercilessly exploited for the sake of wealth for the wealthy for hundreds of years. If one truly believes in eliminating Mexican emigration into the U.S.A. then the solution is pay the American farm labor force a decent living wage, and quit promoting phony Republican solutions that don’t work. By the way, one forgets that Texas, Arizona and California was Mexico until the the Anglos with the help of God, stole these states  fair and square from the Mexicans. The other mistake Republicans keep making (which is sort off the topic) is this: If one has a latin name, Republicans group these people as Mexican farm labor pickers as though they are not Americans and just swam across the Rio Grande. Proof: Republican politicians learn a few Spanish phrases in order to get the “Latino” vote as though these people are not Americans. Latin’s come from Spain, Italy , France and Cuba too. There are millions of Latin’s whom have been here as long as the anglos have been here and most are not farm labors. Second Proof: Marco Rubio the faux Republican Latino champion. The heart of the emigration problem is not a Mexican problem its a Republican greed problem which pushes and mangles money making scams like clay into forms that don’t work because these people do not like to treat all Americans the same unless they earn $400,000 a year or more. Trying to buy the Mexican labor vote including trying to entice a Mexican farm laborer into the Republican party with a 13 year pathway to citizen by the Gang of Eight is a joke. Where was this idea formulated…… on Fox Televison?!? Really the idea is should be relabeled as coming from the Gangsters of 8!

  • Jeff Michaelson

    Professor Skerry said nothing about the primary benefits to the economy of  admitting foreign workers with the option of a Green Card and a possible path to citizenship.  Neither of these possibilities would obtain if the workers are not paying taxes and buying insurance.  This will bring much of the hidden economy to the surface at the same time that more money will flow into social security coffers.  More healthy workers enrolled in insurance plans?  This will broaden the risk pool and lower insurance costs within the new health plan.

  • Zorba

    People who are willing to migrate to America and work for the lowest wages, are also very aware of, and greatly value the potential benefits of education, and small business possibilities here in the USA. They have a dream they can taste and are willing to endure hardships for. I believe tourism, Hollywood and even wars have historically romanticized and popularized the cultures and cuisines of the Central/Southern Americans and Asians, especially in the USA.

    However, there has been a long lasting reverse effect on many of the first people of North America (Indians) and descendants of African brought here as slaves (Blacks). These peoples’ dreams, and their ancestors’ dreams have been repeatedly attacked, destroyed, demonized, and marginalized. Although there are a great many successes in these ethnic groups, too many still struggle to get a grasp on healthy prosperity.

    I think it obvious why there’s such a disproportionate percentage of sustained poverty, broken families, broken homes, high unemployment, poor school performance, bad health, high crime. They are dis-spirited. Discouraged. Angry.  Many feel and act as though doomed to failure, one way or another. Failures are due to a system(s) that have bled them (or soon will), harassed, and cut short their dreams, just as their predecessors’.

    Respect for self, for neighbors, and community or even the law, just doesn’t have the same rational where there’s little or no hope.  The relevance of thorough education, working towards a long term, and a willingness to venture beyond what’s familiar, “the hood” if necessary.

    Of course most other ethnic groups have endured tremendous hardships probably just to get here. But nothing can compare to the ongoing history of exploitation, abuse, justice denied, and deliberate planned attacks on people of color with generations buried in this nations soil.      

    Lo, I have faith that this will greatly change in my life time via the multi-social media afford more of our desperate, or ostracized citizens a  sort of extra body view of their options and generate more mutual respect and hope.

    Mr. Z

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 22 Comment

What Do We Have To Teach Plato?

Philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein discusses her new book "Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away."

April 22 21 Comments

Children’s Literature: Apartheid Or Just A General Lack of Color?

African-American children's book authors Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers weigh in.

April 21 Comment

Remembering Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter

We remember the boxing champion, who was twice wrongly convicted of murder, with his longtime friend and defender.

April 21 2 Comments

‘Wait Wait’ Host Peter Sagal Runs Boston Marathon As Guide

For the second year in a row, the host of NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" is running with a legally blind athlete.