Praise for the deal came from both sides of the aisle – House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia and Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York. "We are very hopeful that an agreement can be reached on a specific proposal in the next few weeks," said Senator Schumer, a member of the bipartisan Senate group working on an immigration compromise, in a statement.
The principles of the agreement call for creating an independent commission that would study the labor market and propose tweaks to the number of lower-skilled workers admitted to the country. Currently, the number of temporary workers allowed into the country is set predominantly by quotas that continue at stable rates from year to year no matter the economic condition in the US.
The problem with the current system, all sides agree, is that it leaves worker shortages when the economy is surging and allows too many workers to enter the country when economic activity slackens. The AFL-CIO and the US Chamber of Commerce addressed this in their joint statement on Thursday.
“Our challenge is to create a mechanism that responds to the needs of business in a market-driven way, while also fully protecting the wages and working conditions of U.S. and immigrant workers,” it read.
While important details remain to be worked out, the Chamber and AFL-CIO said Thursday that the goal was achievable.
“The power of today’s technology enables us to use that knowledge to craft a workable demand-driven process fed by data that will inform how America addresses future labor shortages,” the two groups said in the statement.