The business-labor rift was one of the biggest fault lines of the failed 2007 immigration overhaul. Now, the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO are now trying to link arms to find a new path forward.
“We are continuing to talk and remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform,” the Chamber’s Randy Johnson and AFL-CIO’s Ana Avendano said in a joint statement on Thursday, in response to recent reports that the talks had stalled. A Senate working group had asked them to come up with a plan by Friday, but advocates say a failure to reach that deadline won’t mean the talks are doomed.
In contrast to the broader political debate, the biggest sticking point between business and labor is actually over legal, not illegal, immigration. Business wants a major new guest-worker program and additional visas for high-skilled workers, while labor worries that such changes could allow companies to rely on cheap foreign labor instead of native-born workers.