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Well, I want to thank everybody for staying with us. And we have heard from the House leaders and on what they think, and we've got a good conversation going. They've got a good conversation going in Congress and communities and among experts like the panel we have here. I will introduce all of our panelists next at once because you have their full bios, and I won't say much about them. You can read about them. You probably already know a lot about them. Our first speaker will be Doris Meissner. She's currently a Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute where she directs the U.S. Immigration Policy Program. And, as you heard, she was the INS Commissioner between 1993 and 2000. She's also the Director of MPI's Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future. This is a bipartisan group of experts and elected officials. They released their final report last fall with detailed recommendations for reforms to the U.S. immigration system. Following Doris, we're going to hear from Cecilia Munoz, who is the Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza. Her area of expertise is immigration policy, and she supervises all legislative and advocacy activities conducted by the staff at NCLR on the issues of civil rights, employment, poverty, farm workers, education and housing. And then we will hear from Eliseo Medina. He's International Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union. SEIU is the nation's largest union of health care workers and the union with the largest membership of immigrant workers. And I think he's been an organizer since Day One, and he has done a tremendous amount to mobilize people in L.A. and all parts beyond in this country. And last we will hear from Craig Silvertooth to my left here. He's the Director of Federal Affairs for the Chicago-based National Roofing Contractors Association, one of the oldest U.S. trade associations. He also co-Chairs the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, the coalition of businesses, trade associations, and other organizations from across the industry spectrum concerned with the shortage of both skilled and lesser skilled labor. So I'd like to . I have asked each of the panelists to keep their comments to as close to five minutes as they can, and then we'll have time to go to questions and answers. And I am going to turn now to Doris Meissner. Okay, thank you, Audrey. Good morning. I'm beginning . my topic this morning in my five minutes is enforcement. And so let me try to say a few things about enforcement, but let me say first that for those of you that haven't seen it, this is the bill we're talking about. This bill is . both sides of the page are Xeroxed . is more than 600 pages. So we are talking about a very, very big piece of legislation. I have not read it all. I certainly have not fully absorbed it. But what I can tell you on the enforcement side of the bill is that the bill has seven titles. The seventh title is called Miscellaneous, so for all practical purposes it's six titles. And three of those titles are enforcement titles. So enforcement is very central in this bill. The first three deal with enforcement, and, of course, the very name of the bill was constructed, obviously, to try to create an enforcement focus. It's the security through regularization, et cetera. And so the effort here is clearly to make enforcement be a central feature of this new discussion in the House that the cosponsors have summarized this morning. That having been said, most of the provisions are very familiar. Most of the enforcement provisions are things that we've all seen before over the years, and many of them are things that simply put into statute program and activities in the executive branch and in the immigration agencies that have been going on for a very long time: authorization language for additional resources and so forth, a lot of talk about the border patrol, a lot of talk about technology on the border, obviously mandatory employer verification which we have seen before. So there is not a lot in all of this enforcement language despite the heft, that is all that new, but there are a couple of new features. So let me focus on what I think that probably the two most significant of the new features in the enforcement area are. The first is one that's already been alluded to by both of the cosponsors and that is the requirement of mandating secure documents and, particularly, mandating that the government develop a secure biometric, tamper-proof, noncounterfeitable . I mean the whole range of modifiers in terms of making it absolutely clear that the issue of documents and documentation must be part of the equation. So that what this really does, I think, is kind of bring us up to date on what the lessons of enforcement have been recently, particularly the lesson of the Swift case last December when it became quite clear that people could be . employers could be compliant and participating in the basis pilot which is, of course, the precursor of mandatory verification that has been talked about in earlier bills. People . employers could be complying and still have a very large number of unauthorized workers in their work force because of the issues of secure documents. So that is addressed in this STRIVE Act, and that is new. That just has not been in earlier bills. The other thing on the enforcement front that I think is new in this bill is that it does put into the bill triggers. This idea of triggers is one that was talked about in the debate last year, but it hasn't been in the major pieces of legislation. And, by "triggers," what I mean or what they do in the bill is they require the executive branch to certify progress on various key enforcement initiatives as a condition for moving forward with other parts of the bill . in this particular case the movement of large numbers of new workers into the immigration into the country and also legal status. Now, the triggers are focused on three different things: One of them is the continuing technology infusions of the border that are become part of the what's called the SBI initiative, Secure Border Initiative. The second trigger has to do with employer . electronic employer verification and progress toward moving verification through various employer industry tiers. And the third has to do with the documents in the way that are talked about where the Social Security card is concerned. So those are the . you know, those are kind of the breakthrough points, I think, that are significant. In terms of policy overall, I think the meaning or the implications of these changes from the bills last year, or the bill last year, are really two things again. First of all, this enforcement constellation of provisions in STRIVE does really acknowledge that both, from the point of view of public opinion and from the point of view of the political dynamics on the Hill, enforcement simply has to be the foundation of any kind of a viable immigration deal. This really does acknowledge that not only does the public want rules that are fair, it wants rules that it sees are being enforced, but probably more acutely, where immigration reform and immigration reform legislation is concerned, it acknowledges that if there is going to be any possibility of getting to yes, the enforcement demands that were made last year in the enforcement first bill in the House simply have to be acknowledged. And what this bill does is essentially co-opt them, and I mean it basically says we give you all the enforcement you possibly want; you cannot have a complaint about enforcement. Now let's move on to the other discussion. So that is an important shift, and I think that's very clearly signaled in this bill. The second thing that is clearly signaled with the enforcement provisions in this bill is the centrality of employer accountability to any kind of a comprehensive enforcement regime. And it does everything that has ever been discussed about making employer accountability actually be possible. I mean it puts all the tools into the legislation and, therefore, presumably takes these enforcement issues off of the table as the dividing line between the various parties, and says, okay, they're all on the table, they're here in the bill, now let's move on to the critical issues which are workers' legal status for the unauthorized, and that's where the debate ought to be. Thank you. Thank you, Doris. Cecilia? Thanks. This is a perfect segue from the framing of the enforcement question, right? If the enforcement is framed in the STRIVE Act, as (inaudible) held, every part of the conversation that we need to have on enforcement we also need to have the rest of the conversation. I think Exhibit A in the rest of the conversation is this presence of 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. visible manifestation of the fact that we have a broken immigration system, and I think one of the ways in which the debate has progressed in the last certainly year or two is this notion that we won't have been successful in dealing with immigration reform unless we take . unless we deal with that population. And there are sort of the two threads to the way this debate is taking place, the way they've taken shape. One is the House of Representatives last year attempted to frame the debate. This is a debate about, you know, who is going to be tough and who is going to be generous. And so, under that framework, you have enforcement in a kind of enforcement first approach, and then you frame the question of what happens to undocumented immigrants as they, you know, are people asking for generosity? Are they asking for amnesty? Is this about can we be nice to immigrants versus being touch to immigrants? And I'd suggest that there is a different framework, and I think that's the framework that Congressman Gutierrez and Flake have been advancing, and that is this isn't a debate about being tough versus being generous, this is a debate about what can work. And I think one of the advances that has happened in the debate over . certainly over the last year . certainly, I would say as a result of and in response to the extraordinary mobilizations that were taking place on our streets a year ago, is that I think the public, the broader public which is uncomfortable with our broken immigration system is also increasingly comfortable with the notion that we're not going to fix this problem unless we deal with the 12 million undocumented people, and that the options are either to round people up and deport them, which I think people accept as unrealistic and unlikely, or provide some kind of meaningful way for people to come out of the shadows and ultimately earn their way to citizenship over time. So that's a policy formulation which has been out there for a long time. I think you heard Congressman Flake draw a very clear distinction between this kind of proposal and the, you know . to use a word that's used entirely too much in this debate . the "amnesty" approach of 1986 where if you could prove you were in the country before a particular cutoff date and prove a variety of other things, you were eligible to legalize and get on a path to citizenship. I think they are quite clearly drawing a distinction in saying it makes sense to bring the them all up and deporting them, and if that's the case, then what is the pathway? And the pathway that gets defined in the legislation requires people to earn it. It requires a number of years of work; it requires people to demonstrate that they've been paying taxes. And there was a recent report, you know, this being tax season, that record numbers of people are getting the appropriate documentation, the appropriate I.D. number from the IRS so that they can file their taxes, presumably in anticipation of being able to go through a process such as this. There are requirements having to do with the ability of these immigrants, ultimately, to integrate successfully into American life, and that includes a requirement of being able to pass an English test or demonstrate that they're on their way to learning English. So this is not an amnesty framework. This is saying you have to earn it, it takes time, you have to pay taxes, and you have to learn English. It's about your ability to work here and make a contribution as associated with your ability to come out of the shadows and earn permanent status and ultimately get on a path to citizenship. And I think among the big changes we've seen in the debate is that while there is clear opposition to amnesty style approach, there is also very clear public support. There was one poll released yesterday. USA Today released another poll last week. If you go back, consistently when the public is asked about this notion of the undocumented coming out of the shadows and getting on an earned path to citizenship, you get overwhelming support. And I think that that's really a recognition, and I think that again the mobilizations last year really helped the public sort of see a couple of things: 1) that this is a population which is interested in becoming Americans, eager to become Americans . that's what those "We Are Americans" signs are about. This is about ultimately integrating into American life by a population that sees themselves already as part of American life, and that the alternatives are really not likely and not desirable. So you see widespread public acceptance of this narration that I think is reflected in the debate, it's reflected in this bipartisan set of proposals. There are enormous issues, however, around what the process is going to look like, whether or not, for example, as proposed in the STRIVE Act in order to qualify for legalization people will have to go back to their home countries and sort of, you know, touch base and then come back in. There is this sort of debate about discomfort with the notion of illegality of people. If people are here illegally, there is this sense that, well, if we can make them leave the country and re enter, they will have cleansed themselves of illegal entry, and then it's okay. It's not clear, really, what policy purpose is being served by this touch-back notion. It's really serving the rhetorical . It's not clear to me that that ultimately serves the debate terribly well. It creates an obstacle which could reduce the size of the population, which ultimately qualifies. There are also issues around . we faced a debate on this in the Senate last year, we're expecting it again . whether or not people will ultimately get credit for their own earnings in the Social Security system. That is actually a debate of enormous implications; it's not at the center of legalization discussions, but the implications of it are huge. There are tens of billions of dollars in the Social Security system which have been paid in by undocumented immigrants in the labor force, and there is a serious proposal to deny them credit for those wages and they can start over, which is tantamount to saying, "Thank you very much for paying in. We'll take your money now, and you go ahead and start over, and if you haven't made your 40 quarters by the time you retire, gosh, we're really very sorry." -- We have enormous backlogs in our system. The bulk of immigrants who come legally to the United States come because they have U.S. citizen close family members who petition for them. The waiting periods are very long in a number of categories, and as a result there are people in those lines who are also here illegally despite the fact that they're in line for a legal visa as the spouse of a U.S. citizen or legal resident, or as their child, either a minor child or adult child, parent, or sibling. Elimination of those backlogs is one of the cornerstones of this debate because it's a contributor to undocumented immigration, and because in order for the system to function and in order to have a rational immigration system and to really deal with all of what is broken in our immigration system, what happens in the family system needs to be part of that. The STRIVE Act contemplates eliminating those backlogs over a period of six years, and there's an entirely separate conversation happening between senators on both sides of the aisle and the White House and the Senate, where . and the White House has offered a proposal which would actually clear backlogs but while at the same time eliminating entire family categories. That has enormous implications for the ability of American citizens to reunite with their closest family members. Family reunification is really a centerpiece of our immigration law and our immigration policy. It's connected with our national values; it's something that we've done very well, that's done very well by the country for being a centerpiece of our system. It's a very serious matter to be talking about, undermining the family immigration system, and so you need to look for that as an element of the debate to a place where there's going to be a struggle. And the struggle is going to be, ultimately, about whether or not people have the ability to integrate and reunite with their families, as you heard the congressman say, and also whether or not we're producing a system which is going to be workable and isn't going to produce other pockets of undocumented populations because we haven't created proper pathways for people going forward. Thank you very much, Cecilia. And Eliseo Medina will be next. Thank you, Audrey. As you have heard, the SEIU is the largest union of immigrant workers in the country. A number of them are undocumented, but let me hasten to add this: They're not just Latinos. In our membership are Eastern Europeans, Irish, Polish, Indians, Chinese, the whole world is represented among the undocumented and also in our membership. We also represent American-born workers, legal residents. And as long as there is a section of workers that have no rights, it undermines the standards for all workers. So both because we represent undocumented workers and immigrants, and because we represent native-born American workers, we are extremely supportive of comprehensive immigration reform. We believe that solving this problem is key to ensuring that American workers once again have an opportunity at the American Dream. We also believe that we have a window of opportunity now to fix this broken immigration system, but as we struggle with this question, we have to get it right. And that's one of the reasons why SEIU congratulates Congressmen Gutierrez and Flake for having introduced the STRIVE Act. We believe that it is the right architecture for comprehensive immigration reform. It allows the current undocumented workers an opportunity to legalize their status. And let me say here that when we're talking about undocumented workers, we are talking about workers living in blended families. Many of them have married American citizens or legal permanent residents and have U.S.-born children. So while we may talk about 12 million, we actually, once we add family members this debate probably impacts more like 20 million people, among them many American citizens. This bill would also give the students the opportunity to attend college by including the Dream Act. It provides the system for agricultural workers to legalize and an opportunity for future immigrants to come to the U.S. through legal channels rather than coming through the desert and risking their lives. I believe that it is a tragedy that we have a situation where over 400 people die every year in the desert trying to come here to pick our food, clean our office buildings, work in the meat packing plants, and in some cases raise children. And I also think that this bill has an important component, which is that it's a bipartisan bill. We wish that it was even more bipartisan, but nevertheless it does have Republican support which we think is important if we are to get this done. Let me also say that, having said all of this, SEIU has not officially endorsed the STRIVE Act because it is 600 pages, and we want to make sure that we read it and understand all of the implications, because we are concerned about areas such as making sure that the disqualifiers are not so stringent that they take many people, or deprive many people of the opportunity to legalize. We want to make sure that the law enforcement provisions does not transform our local law enforcement into immigration agents which changes their role in a way that I think would be extremely detrimental to their ability to enforce local laws. Not many immigrants are going to go to the report crimes, be witnesses if they feel that they may be arrested and deported. Some of these things that we're concerned about are not, in our view, fatal flaws of the bill. Quite the contrary, but we do believe, as Cecilia said in many of the other areas, that they need to be addressed and discussed through the debate and come up with a bill that will get it right. But let me also say that SEIU is extremely concerned that the congressional debate may have moved on from the STRIVE Act to a proposal that's been presented by the White House negotiations with the U.S. Senate that, in my view, takes us backwards, not forwards, in the search for a solution to these problems. This proposal, it would legalize current undocumented workers. It would basically take us back on future flows, future immigrants, and back to the bad old days of the Brassadel where workers come to this country without any rights, where they come in working for one employer who can hold it over their heads if they complain about their wages, their working conditions, or about being exploited. They have no portability of employment so that if they are mistreated, they would not be able to go and search another job like any of us have the opportunity to do, and they would have no independent way of enforcing their rights. If we want people to come and help us build America, we ought to treat them fairly. We ought to give them the same rights we given American workers, and this proposal, in my view, would not do that. We have tried the Brassadel program. It failed. It was a system of exploitation. We do not need to go back to that system once again. We need a worker's program that would really solve the problems we are facing. Now, we are calling on the Congress to resist the siren call of simple political expedient solutions because we cannot afford to get this wrong. If we do, and we create a system that would just encourage undocumented workers to not come forward and just burrow deeper into the shadows, as Luis has said, I assure you that in 20 years a different group of people may be in this same room having the same conversation. And that would be a tragedy. Thank you very much. We will now hear from Craig Silvertooth from NRCA. I'm wearing two hats today. First I represent the roofing industry and, more broadly, construction industry. And, secondly, I'm a co-chair of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition which represents a broad swath of American industry. The business community really comes to this debate from the perspective of work force needs. I know when my organization over the past decade we probably expended over a million dollars trying to recruit new applicants into our industry, trying to fill empty positions. And then we've met with very limited success I have to say. Fortunately, there is a large pool of foreign-born labor that's willing to come and work in our industry, and they've found it to be fairly rewarding. Construction tends to be one of the quickest paths to entrepreneurship in the American economy, and so it's been a win/win situation for us. But how long we can continue that trend under the current circumstances and given the status quo, we've got a broken immigration system, it's uncertain. But, more importantly . and Congressman Gutierrez spoke about this a little bit . we've got a looming issue in this country, and it's, frankly, not unique to the United States; it's unique to the industrialized world. And that is that our demographics are out of whack. In the United States right now our birth rate is 2.05 children per female. So we're replacing ourselves. We've got a little bit of extra to keep us going for a few years, but by 2015 the United Nations anticipates that we're going to be at 1.91 children per family. At the same time you've got people that are cycling out of the work force because they're aging. The baby boomer segment is the fastest growing segment of the population. We have taken . our economy is now going in a direction, essentially, that it's a service-oriented economy, so you're seeing massive job creation at some of the lower rungs of the occupational ladder. Another thing that we're seeing is that at the macroeconomic level we are making decisions as a country that does not encourage . and this is a particular concern to my industry . we do not encourage young people to go into the trades, whether they are construction or other types of trades. Just to give you a little statistic on this. In 1960 half of all American males dropped out of high school and went into the building trades or a similar trade like that. Today that's less than 10 percent. If you're a guidance counselor, you don't get great reviews because you sent somebody into the roofing industry. If you send them to a four-year institution of higher learning, you're going to get positive reviews from your school system. At the budgetary level for our government, we make student loans very affordable. That's a good thing. I think that the future of this country is probably in the knowledge economy; it has been for the past decade, and we should probably continue to do that. But what we're saying and what we're doing with our money is we're encouraging people to move away from these industries. So what are we going to do about the work force needs that we have? The answer is fairly obviously. We're seeing it; the construction industry in particular is seeing it. There was a study that came out from the PEW Hispanic Center in March of this year, and they found that in 2006 alone there were 559,000 new jobs created, and out of those jobs, those new jobs created, 372,000 of those new jobs were filled by Latinos or Hispanics. I'm going to run through a couple of statistics here, because I know we're short on time, but I think that it's really staggering. Today in the construction industry 25 percent of the 11.8 million are of Latino origin. Of that increase that I mentioned, last year 60 percent were foreign born, so 335,000 of the 559,000 new workers were foreign born. Most were recent arrivals: 255,000 of that number were recent arrivals, and nearly one-third of every Latino or Hispanic in the construction industry today, or who worked in construction in 2006, is Hispanic. So that's what we're grappling with is that, you know, we're seeing that our work force is moving in that direction, and then you look at current law, there's essentially 5,000 green cards a year that are given to all of the essential worker categories. And we're in competition with Marriott, MacDonald's, Burger King, the health care industry, you name it. So that's really the dilemma we face. With respect to the STRIVE Act which is what we're here to talk about today, the business community is deeply gratified that Congressmen Gutierrez and Flack introduced this bill. We think it's a terrific starting point. It's certainly much better than any legislation that we saw in the last Congress. What I would say, though, is that we also see things in the bill that are of concern on the employer sanctions and the penalties front. It's the dynamic that the business community faces is this, we have a question: Is the benefit of a new guest worker program a path that would provide for a future (inaudible) as well as a pathway to legalization for those that are currently here? Any need work force benefits that we derive from that, does that outweigh any, what we would view as onerous provisions in Titles 3 and 4, Titles 3 being the electronic employment verification system, Title 4 being the new H2C temporary worker program? If you get down into the nitty-gritty, into the details, there are some surprising things in there. It's not horrific across the board, and in fact there are some very good things, and I would be happy to talk about that at a later point. But I would say that there are some specific objections that are of great concern to the construction industry and, more broadly, to the American business community. With respect to employment eligibility verification, the things that jumps immediately to mind is that there's a standard known as the knowing standard. But if you go out and you hire somebody and it turns out they're illegal, you could be prosecuted because you knew that they were undocumented. Well, there's a lot of case law behind that. It's a standard that would have to be proven by the authorities. The bill proposes to change that to a reckless disregard standard. That's essentially a constructive knowledge situation where you could back into a liability situation where the authorities are saying, well, you could have known, you should have known, so we're going to proceed with an enforcement action against you, whereas they didn't actually have specific proof. They could construct a case that would indicate that maybe you knew. A second issue that we face is that the Secretary can require an employer to certify compliance or that they've instituted a program that they are instituting compliance with the program. But the problem is that reverification is prohibited, so if we're not going to have reverification, but at the same time you have to go and . you have to certify that you're complying, the question is, how are you going to do it? We would suggest that maybe you just need to get rid of that. There are also drastic increases in fees. S-2511, which was the Senate bill last year, we think got it right. They did a much better job on that, and there's also an expansion of DOLs investigatory powers. I know I'm running a little bit short on time. One of the other issues that's of particular concern to not just the construction but all contractors, there's a provision in this bill that would allow for debarment of federal contractors of a five-year period if they are found to be in violation of any of the provision of the immigration law. We would suggest . and I'll tell you, this got in there because there was a presumption laying out there that contractors were getting federal contracts, they weren't paying their taxes, they were hiring illegals, they were doing whatever, and they shouldn't be receiving federal money. That's a legitimate point, and that's a debate that we're certainly willing to have. There's an existing mechanism within the United States Code. It's called the Federal Acquisition Regulations, and it deals with this. Whether or not it's enforced adequately, that's probably a legitimate discussion as well, and we'd be happy to have that as well. But it's a time-tested body of law, and we think that debarment should probably be handled within that content. Another area that we're concerned about is the expansion of classes of litigants in terms of antidiscrimination provisions. And that's something that I think we need to take a very close look at. There is a provision in there that would strike the notion of intent with respect to some of these antidiscrimination cases. The current law is that you have to show intent on the part of the employer to discriminate. That's stricken, and we think it's a little broad, overly expansive. I know I'm running short on time, so I'll wrap up now and I guess we'll take questions. Okay, great. Thank you very much. Well, I think in this brief time that we've all seen how complex migration is, how complex policy is, how deep the discussions have been, and we anticipate this debate to continue over the next couple of months at least. I want to turn to some questions now from the audience. We have a few minutes left, and if you have a question, since we are short on time, please keep it brief, and when you get the microphone, tell us your name and where you're from.