Senate Immigration Bill Weak on Middle Class Concerns
Everyone wants to know - how would the Senate's new immigration bill, the proposed "Grand Bargain" for immigration reform impact America's middle class and everyone working their way into the middle class? DMI applied our famed two-part litmus test that we use to grade proposed immigration legislation to this latest bill.
We gave the legislation a "B-" for supporting immigrants' economic contributions to America and a "D+" for its near failure to strengthen the workplace rights of immigrants, an essential component in order to avoid a race to the bottom for native-born American workers. You can read our full analysis here.
"DMI argues that the nation's current and aspiring middle class is always threatened by a policy that seeks to fill permanent jobs with temporary workers, but the restrictive nature of the guest worker program in this bill makes it even worse than other recent proposals." Said DMI Executive Director Andrea Batista Schlesinger. "It creates a program in which interchangeable workers shuttle in and out of the country with little opportunity to establish themselves economically, exercise their rights, or advance in the workplace. Wages and working conditions for all U.S. workers are threatened as more and more jobs that once supported a middle-class standard of living instead become positions for temporary workers."
Amy Traub blogged yesterday about the unworkability of the bill calling it an "incoherent hodge-podge of contradictory provisions" and spelling out the ridiculousness of expecting immigrants to return to their country of origin every two years. As the bill continues to be intensely debated in the senate its important for everyone to keep in mind that immigration reform isn't just a political football it's policy that effects the lives of immigrants and native born Americans alike.