Immigration Deal in Limbo Over Business-Labor Snag

Reform stalls over how much to pay low-skilled immigrants
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2013 8:53 AM CDT
Immigration Deal in Limbo Over Business-Labor Snag
Sens. John McCain and Charles Schumer confer during a news conference in this file photo. They are among the Gang of Eight working on an immigration deal.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The broad strokes of a bipartisan immigration deal are finished, but a fight between business and labor over how much to pay low-skilled immigrants is holding up the final package, reports AP. A bipartisan group of eight senators missed a self-imposed deadline to wrap things up yesterday before the Senate's two-week recess, reports the Los Angeles Times. The delay probably means the measure won't reach the full Senate by the end of April as planned. The group has settled on allowing the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants to apply for citizenship after 13 years, assuming border security gets beefed up, but the dispute between the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO over a new visa program has the legislation in limbo.

Both sides have reportedly agreed to allow up to 200,000 foreign guest workers into the country per year on special visas to fill jobs such as housekeepers, child care workers, and janitors. The chamber wants those workers "to be paid one step below the median hourly wage scale in their respective industries," reports the Washington Post, but the labor union is balking, fearful that would pull down wages of US workers. Talks are expected to continue over the break. (More immigration stories.)

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