Barbara Boxer

Immigration Bill Moves a Bit in Senate


The Senate shot down a bipartisan attempt to kill guest worker provisions in pending immigration-reform legislation, reports Reason Contributing Editor Carolyn Lochhead in the SF Chronicle. That said, the Senate also cut the proposed number of visas for low-skilled workers (this too was the result of bipartisan wrangling). That that said, if and when the Senate manages to pass a bill, it will be so different from the House bill (which focuses exclusively on enforcement and contains no guest worker provisions), it's far from clear that any compromise is realizable.

One interesting bit in the Chron article: There's been a fair amount of talk about how the GOP is split on immigration. Less attention has been paid to Dem divisions on the same topic. Lochhead notes that Cali's two Donkey Party senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, are on different sides of the issue. Here's Boxer bashing guest worker programs:

"There are 3.6 million workers in construction with an average wage of $18.21," Boxer said. "I meet with my working people in California. They're fighting hard for these jobs, they want more of these jobs, not less of these jobs, and the last thing they want is a guest worker program that is going to provide a big pool of workers who will get far less than this amount and take jobs away from my people."

More here. Boxer's economics are off, but it's easy to see that Dems are split over their loyalties to unions and to immigrants, just as the GOP is split between social conservatives and pro-business types.