New Work Visa Program a Step, But Immigration Fight Far From Over

Low-wage worker agreement is just the beginning of massive immigration overhaul.

An immigrant walks near the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Mexico, March 10, 2013.

If the legislation becomes law, would-be jurors would still have to speak English.

By + More

Immigration-control groups also worry that the proposal would lead to a rapid growth in immigrants because the W-visa is not temporary. Workers who qualify for the program can apply for permanent status after one year.

Another reminder of how fragile negotiations on the subject remain: Hours after the business and labor communities celebrated their agreement, Rubio threw a bit of cold water on the glowing headlines.

[DEBATE CLUB: Should H-1B Visas Be Easier to Get?]

"We will need a healthy public debate that includes committee hearings and the opportunity for other senators to improve our legislation with their own amendments...Arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people's consideration, through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren't part of this initial drafting process," Rubio said in a release Sunday. "In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret."

Wilkes says that it is important to remember that while the gang of eight continues to work together and overcome obstacles, the group still has to tackle how it will handle family visas. A significant chunk of immigrants don't enter the country for work, but are sponsored by a family member.

Part of the compromise on immigration reform might mean giving fewer family visas to increase the number of STEM visas the government can allocate.

"That is a potential flash point left," Wilkes says. "Those waits are really long already and this would make it worse."

More News:

  • Cory Booker Hosting Hipster Fundraiser
  • D.C.'s Lamest April Fools' Jokes
  • Poll: Americans Want More Solar Energy