Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bipartisan Senate plan would deepen exploitation of immigrant workers

Bipartisan Senate plan would deepen exploitation of immigrant workers By Barry Grey18 May 2007

A group of Democratic and Republicans senators on Thursday announced a bipartisan proposal to overhaul the US immigration system that contains punitive measures against undocumented workers currently in the US and regressive provisions that would prevent future immigrants from bringing parents, adult children or other family members into the country. Details of the proposed legislation, which runs 380 pages, remain sketchy. However, certain key points are clear.

The plan contains discriminatory and anti-democratic language provisions, requiring immigrants seeking permanent legal status to learn English, and mandates a massive expansion, to 18,000, of the border patrol police, the erection of 370 additional miles of fencing on the US-Mexican border, and a hi-tech employment verification system for immigrant workers. It would also establish temporary worker programs to vastly expand the number of immigrant workers brought into the country to serve as highly exploited cheap labor for agribusiness and other corporate interests. The plan would allow most undocumented workers who entered the US before January 1 to receive a temporary residency permit until they obtained a “Z Visa,” which would enable them to live and work in the US legally. However, they would have to pay a $5,000 fine and administrative costs before receiving the “Z Visa,” and face the prospect of waiting eight to thirteen years before achieving permanent residency.

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