Labor, business leaders making progress on guest-worker program for illegal immigrants

The two sides said they have agreed to three principles. The first is that American workers should have the first crack at all jobs, and the second would provide a new visa that “does not keep all workers in a permanent temporary status, provides labor mobility . . . and that automatically adjusts as the American economy expands and contracts.”

The third principle is a call for a new, quasi-independent federal bureau that would monitor employment statistics and trends to inform Congress about where to set visa caps for foreign workers each year.

A spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is helping lead talks in the Senate, praised the union-business negotiations while also criticizing Obama for not endorsing a guest-worker program.

“It’s good the unions have recognized there must be a workable visa program for lesser-skilled workers as we reform our legal immigration system,” Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said.