The immigration reform bill being debated now in the U.S. Senate, which would provide a road map to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans, includes protections for foreign students who come to this country under a “summer-work travel” program.
But a USA Today story says au pair agencies, amusement parks, summer camp operators, hotels and others who count on this “cultural exchange” program for summer labor are lobbying to kill them.
The program gained notoriety in March as foreign students protested being charged steep recruitment fees and rent for the privilege of working at Pennsylvania McDonald’s franchises.
The protections in the immigration bill would require recruiters to register with the government, bar them from collecting recruitment fees and hold companies that take on the foreign workers liable for violations by overseas subcontracting recruiters.
Companies lobbying against the protections say they’re not needed and that administrative costs would threaten their businesses.
"This program is a scam," USA Today quotes Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as saying on the Senate floor. "It is not a cultural-exchange program. It is displacing young American workers at a time of double-digit unemployment among young people, and it is putting downward pressure on wages at a time when the American people are working longer hours for lower wages."
Read the full story here.