NPR’s interview with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Service Employees International Union this week shows the beginning of a real conversation on immigration. As the two groups noted in the interview, “While we may disagree on a number of other issues, on this one we are lock step and working on fixing this system.”
Eliseo Medina of SEIU and Randel Johnson of the U.S Chamber described their agreement that 11 million immigrant Americans without proper papers ought to have a way to apply for immigration status and citizenship. Both groups also underscored the big missing piece in the 1986 immigration reform: the future. While the 1986 reform allowed those who were already here to come forward and apply for immigration status and massively increased border enforcement, it did nothing to update the underlying laws for the future.
The two groups went on to describe what still needs to be worked out are the details around future immigrants: What hoops and hurdles does an employer have to go through to demonstrate they have recruited U.S. workers first (if an employer needs a worker relatively quickly, should they then have to advertise for a U.S. worker for 120 days?). What are the criteria under which future immigrants can transition to citizenship so that we don’t create a second-class group of people in our country?
Listen to the full radio piece “Odd Fellows” Work Together on Immigration Overhaul.
We are excited to see this long overdue conversation taking place and the growing momentum to create a roadmap to citizenship that lives up to our country’s values and our interests.