Business, Labor Leaders Meet in D.C.
The push for national immigration reform legislation got another boost in the nation's capitol this week, as business and labor leaders from around the country converged to discuss one of the most thorny parts of the immigration issue....a guest worker program. Groups as divergent as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO are among those tasked with hammering out a guest worker program that can garner wide support as part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Business and labor leaders also met separately this week with President Obama at the White House to discuss the issue. It was disagreement over a guest worker program that ultimately sank the immigration reform bill proposed back in 2007.
Critics of the current immigration reform proposal see it as nothing more than window dressing for a massive amnesty effort. They include William Gheen, with the group Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC), who scoffs at the phrase "guest worker program." "One, these people are not guests, and two, we already have seven functioning guest worker programs in operation that are the most generous in the world...we don't need another one," he tells KTRH. While business and labor have traditionally clashed over how to administer a guest worker program, Gheen argues they both ultimately have the same goal. "The main thrust big business and the labor unions want together is to get those illegal immigrants in the United States here permanently," he says.
A big difference in the current push for immigration reform compared to 2007 is the support of some prominent conservative leaders, like Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Senator Rubio says it's time for Republicans to try and solve the problem in order to prevent the "de-facto" amnesty that currently exists for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. But detractors like Gheen think those like Rubio have it all wrong. "Because Republicans lost a small amount of seats in the Congress, eight seats, they're trying to act as if that's some type of impetus for Republicans to support amnesty," he says. It appears Washington could be headed for another battle like the one in 2007.