Senators' Personal Wants Buried in Immigration Bill

Graham adds meat industry visas; Colo. senator helps ski resorts

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 22, 2013 7:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Senate's immigration reform bill could make sweeping changes for some 11 million undocumented workers, but not all its measures are so expansive. In fact, a number of senators have inserted legislation that offers a special boost to their home states, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a major home for meat production, reportedly added a provision for up to 20,000 extra visas for meat cutters and trimmers—even though a labor union says the industry has plenty of eligible workers already.

"The way we view this is it's an earmark for meat and poultry and we strongly, strongly oppose it," says a union rep. Meanwhile, New York's Chuck Schumer added 10,500 visas for high-school educated Irish immigrants. That was an effort to fix a 1965 anti-bias measure that "inadvertently made it difficult for Irish immigrants to obtain visas, despite their strong cultural ties to the US," says an aide. Elsewhere in the bill, Florida's Marco Rubio inserted an allowance for more foreigners who can repair cruise ships; Colorado's Michael Bennet added more leeway in hiring foreign ski instructors. The Journal has more.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, center, speaks of immigration reform legislation outlined by the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Eight.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, center, speaks of immigration reform legislation outlined by the Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight."   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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