The national discussion on immigration reform is heating up now that the “Gang of Eight” plans to release its detailed version of the Senate bill. As with similar efforts in past years to pass comprehensive immigration reform through Congress, the draft legislation to start the process will undergo massive changes as legislators debate the issue, especially as it moves into the House of Representatives. Yet one point has received considerably less attention in the national debate, but will probably make the most difference to most immigrants and the economy– the enforcement of workplace rights.
I have been involved in the debate on immigration reform now for more than 25 years, since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). I have seen the demographics of the country shift and have witnessed this debate in many stages and from many perspectives.
One thing we learned from the Immigration Reform Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 is that it fell dramatically short when it came to improving the working conditions of the estimated three million immigrants who gained legal status.
It was announced over the weekend the bipartisan Senate “Gang of Eight” came to an agreement in principle on a major aspect of creating a commonsense immigration process that benefits all workers.
This agreement includes a new kind of worker visa program called the W-Visa, which will work for everyone, not just employers.
Here are five things you need to know about this new employer-based visa: