Immigration Reform News Roundup: April 2, 2013

Capitol at night

All is not quiet at the Capitol.

With a recent post, I highlighted the Key Players and Plans in Immigration Reform. In the few days that have passed since that post, those key players have been busy and their key plans have become somewhat clearer. Here is the latest news on immigration reform from politicians, business and labor groups, and yes, sadly even Donald Trump.

AFL-CIO (labor) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce (business)

Late last Friday, one of the bigger obstacles legislators had encountered in drafting a comprehensive immigration reform bill appeared to have been overcome as the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce finally reached an agreement with the help of key senators. Reports indicate that the agreement entails a new guest worker visa program, the "W Visa," through which 20,000 visas would be issued to low-skilled workers starting in April 2015. The visa numbers would increase in subsequent years, but would never exceed 200,000 or drop below 20,000 yearly. For construction jobs, only 15,000 visas would be allocated per year. A further breakdown of four key points can be found here.

The Gang of 8: bipartisan group of senators

The business and labor agreement seems to have given a boost to comprehensive immigration reform's momentum, as Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) indicated over the weekend that a "substantive agreement" has been reached among the Gang of 8 on the major parts of an immigration bill. While Senator Schumer said that nothing was finalized yet, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) echoed his optimism by declaring that he anticipates the plan's details will be revealed next week.

Despite the claims from Senators Schumer and Graham, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) poured some cold water on the immigration reform momentum when he stated Sunday morning that although he is "encouraged" by recent developments in immigration reform negotiations, reports that the Gang of 8 has reached an agreement on a reform bill are "premature."

The Secretive 8: bipartisan group of representatives

Reports yesterday indicated that the bipartisan group of representatives working on immigration reform legislation anticipates that it could reveal its immigration plan as early as next week. While the House members have been less public than the senators with their immigration reform bill, it appears that it will include three paths to lawful status in contrast to the senators’ proposed single pathway.

Opposition to comprehensive immigration reform

Although progress on immigration reform has dominated news outlets, immigration reform detractors are still making headlines. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a longtime opponent of immigration reform whose efforts helped defeat reform legislation in 2007, is continuing in his fight against immigration reform in 2013.

Not a key player.

And in case anyone out there actually cared about what Donald Trump has to say about comprehensive immigration reform, here you, yes all one of you, go. While money apparently buys you airtime to talk about immigration reform, it doesn't get you the knowledge necessary to speak on the issue intelligently.