- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

'Trade-Off' on Immigration Reform

Vida en el Valle, News Report, Staff Posted: Apr 04, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With their prospects in Congress sinking along with the economy, advocates of giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship are launching a risky strategy to push lawmakers and the White House to take up their cause.

They propose that Congress legalize millions of undocumented workers now in exchange for reducing the number of temporary foreign workers allowed to enter the country in the future. It is a calculation that could win a new and powerful ally -- organized labor -- but risks alienating businesses that rely on temporary workers and could turn off key Republicans such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

With unemployment on the rise, the immigration debate has moved to the back burner as lawmakers fear enacting a law that could be portrayed as beneficial for immigrants at the expense of struggling American workers.

Advocates believe that winning support from the AFL-CIO, which opposed previous legalization plans, will help push House Democrats and increase leverage with the White House.

"Last time the coalition was not quite as solid as we would have hoped," said Ali Noorani, director of the National Immigration Forum, one of the advocacy groups negotiating with labor leaders over the new strategy.

Ana Avendano, the AFL-CIO's point person on the issue, said the labor federation thinks the changing economy and Democrats' enhanced power in Washington represents a "sea change" in which liberal groups can forge ahead without working with Republican-leaning business lobbyists.

"The reality is that we no longer have corporations controlling public policy in the White House and on the Hill," she said.

President Barack Obama recently told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he would deliver a public statement of support in the spring for a legalization plan. But White House officials have not committed to the new idea on temporary worker limits, nor have they signed off on pushing the legislation this year, as advocates have hoped.

Obama reiterated his support for legalization during a stop in Los Angeles, but advocates are growing anxious that he might prefer to delay what would likely be a politically charged fight over the issue. Immigration advocates have raised concerns that the Obama administration has not called off workplace raids that are splitting immigrant families.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutirrez, D-Ill., said he and other caucus members leaned on the president to act fast, pointing out that he has managed to find time to satisfy other constituencies on issues not directly related to the economic meltdown.

"We're saying, 'OK, you took time out for stem-cell research and you're taking time out for health care,'" Gutirrez said. "And our communities expect you to take time out for our issues."

To bolster their cause, advocates plan an $18 million media and grass-roots campaign for the fall, when they hope lawmakers will take up the issue. Funding is coming primarily from liberal foundations, including one founded by billionaire activist George Soros.

Advocates said they plan to remind House members and senators that Latino voters, who voted for Democrats in big numbers in 2006 and 2008 and proved crucial to Obama's victories in Florida and the Southwest, expect the party to use its enhanced power to pass a legalization plan.

Latinos flocked to the Democrats largely because they were turned off by conservative Republicans who used racially explosive ads to build opposition to giving citizenship to undocumented workers, a tactic that foiled efforts by former President George W. Bush.

Related Articles:

Immigration Reform Back on the Agenda

The End of the Immigration Boom?

Unions Need Unity, and More

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage