Temporary guest worker program survives Senate opposition

[JURIST] The US Senate voted Tuesday to keep plans to establish a temporary guest worker program in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 [S 1348 summary; JURIST report]. An amendment [S Amdt 1153 materials] proposed by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) [official website] that sought to eliminate the temporary guest worker program failed 31-64 [roll call]. The proposed temporary worker visa program would provide between 400,000 to 600,000 guest worker visas per year, and has been criticized by lawmakers from both aisles as being too large. Supporters of the program argue that guest workers are necessary because employers cannot find Americans employees, while some critics of the program argue that employers would be able to fill job openings if they were willing to pay a decent wage. Other critics of the measure say that it threatens to create permanent underclass of low-income low-skill workers that are denied the opportunity to establish roots in the United States.

If approved, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act would give undocumented immigrants the opportunity to obtain a probationary card allowing them to live and work legally in the United States, but which would not place them on the road to permanent residency or citizenship. Senate leaders had initially hoped to hold a final vote on the immigration reform [JURIST news archive] legislation before Memorial Day, but decided Monday that the vote would be delayed until June due to opposition [JURIST report] from both sides in Congress. The New York Times has more.

 

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