US immigration reform: Democrats hit out at ‘racist’ bill

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Sanders (right) is an opponent of Transitional Worker Employment Provision Labour MP Alan Hagerty has said the finance and technology sectors should put pressure on US Democrats to block…

US immigration reform: Democrats hit out at 'racist' bill

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Sanders (right) is an opponent of Transitional Worker Employment Provision

Labour MP Alan Hagerty has said the finance and technology sectors should put pressure on US Democrats to block a Republican-backed bill that will impact millions of immigrants.

Mr Hagerty, who represents Sheffield Hillsborough, said the bill would drive down wages and could see some US states turn into “foreign colonies”.

Pro-migrant figures including Randi Weingarten and Marisa Nadón worry that the language which will be heard in the House of Representatives is “racist and xenophobic”.

The party will vote on the 1,900-page bill on Monday.

Photo: Doug Bennet/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

An amendment to the bill could affect the numbers of immigrants from Europe – a continent in which many politicians want to limit immigration.

At issue is a section of the bill that will address the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme – which protects the rights of some 800,000 children who were brought to the US illegally.

The section of the proposed legislation reads: “The (immigration) bill would be adjusted to deny future legal immigration status to individuals who, for any purpose, enter or remain in the United States after 26 July 2016 who benefited under the Daca (deferred action for childhood arrivals) programme.”

Saying the provision was not “a ban on people who have already taken part in the programme”, Mr Hagerty said: “Why should we keep them alive? It’s illegal, not morally right.”

‘Austerity Budget’

Tech companies want to make sure their employees who lack US citizenship can not pay taxes.

Ms Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said: “Not only does (the provision) pick the pockets of American workers while doing nothing to address the problem, but it puts at risk the investment this country will make in its infrastructure, its military, and its education system.”

Another amendment in the bill would restrict immigration from a range of countries, including Europe, for personal reasons.

The provision would prevent immigrant spouses and children from entering the US for family reunification if they do not meet requirements set out in immigration law.

Ms Nadón, former president of the National Council of La Raza, said: “This anti-immigrant sentiment will be mirrored in the states that are about to turn into foreign colonies, ceding their citizens to aliens, criminals and refugees who do not know, speak, love or love us. And this is happening under the guise of the Beltway gridlock.”

While it’s still unclear if there will be a vote on the bill – which is unlikely to become law – the Democrats have scheduled a vote on amendments to the bill.

Mr Hagerty said: “We all recognise that anything can change during the process in the House, but what’s also true is that no major issue matters if people are not held to account.”

He added: “This is an America first agenda with an agenda that effectively hurts American workers, immigrants and all Americans who rely on government-funded services.

“This needs to be a national issue and we must demand leaders speak out. No more bickering, no more delay. We must put the interests of working people first.”

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