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Democrats, minimum wage, and Sessions' immigration amendments

Senator Jeff Sessions has tried to add two immigration-related amendments to the current minimum wage bill. The first would greatly increase fines against employers convicted of hiring illegal aliens. The second would ban employers convicted of hiring illegal aliens from working on federal contract for ten years. (It's not known whether they could work as subcontractors or similar.)

The Democrat response?
"Amendment here. Amendment there," thundered Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat... "Amendment on Social Security. Amendment on immigration. And all the chortling and laughing as they go on about their business," he boomed... Republicans are "not for those millions of Americans who are heading home tonight, who've worked long and hard, facing their children hoping that at last ... the United States isn't going to fail us," he said. "What do we tell them after five days?"
Of course, as discussed here, some or all of the Democratic support for raising the minimum wage may have less to do with those who receive that wage and more to do with the fact that many union contracts are pegged to multiples of that wage.

Despite being lifted directly from last year's Senate amnesty bill, the immigration fines amendment was removed. The federal contracts ban was approved 94-0.

However, that vote might not last long:
Business lobbyists believe lawmakers will ultimately strip from Senate minimum wage legislation any sanctions against companies caught hiring illegal immigrants. Whether they can keep it out of immigration law is another matter...

Angelo Amador, director of immigration policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, predicted the contracting ban would not likely survive inside a final minimum wage bill...

..."The Sessions amendments are comparable to using the nuclear option for a paperwork violation," Jeffrey D. Shoaf of the Associated General Contractors of America wrote to senators in a last ditch attempt to kill the immigration provision...

Others voicing opposition were the American Meat Institute, whose meat packing members have been frequent targets of immigration raids. Others who signed on to a letter of opposition included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Homebuilders and the Associated Builders and Contractors...

Immigration2007a · Fri, 01/26/2007 - 10:28 · Importance: 1