The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 1, 2013

Barletta questions affordability of immigration overhaul

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

— WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Big business and big labor reportedly have settled on a political framework for an immigration overhaul. But U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11 of Hazleton, isn’t so sure the plan is viable — or even affordable.

In a lengthy letter sent to the so-called “Gang of Eight” senators — the four Democrats and four Republicans who need to sign off on the deal before they propose legislation — Barletta addressed the business and labor leader-led deal, which would allow tens of thousands of low-skilled workers into the country and pay them fair wages.

The deal, if enacted, would set in motion the most dramatic changes to the faltering U.S. immigration system in more than two decades. The plan would provide a new class of worker visas for low-skilled workers, secure the border, crack down on employers, improve legal immigration and create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants already here.

“With the agreement between business and labor, every major policy issue has been resolved,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat who brokered the labor-business deal.

Not so fast, Barletta hinted in his note to the senators.

“Given your apparent proposals,” Barletta wrote, “I respectfully request that you prepare a complete evaluation of how our government will afford and administer the legalization of millions of new people as you are suggesting. Confronting this issue is the key to passing your immigration reform measures through the House of Representatives. I will continue to oppose any proposal that offers temporary amnesty, indefinitely, for individuals who have already broken our laws.”