WASHINGTON — The Senate revived a bill to revamp the immigration system on Tuesday after weeks of intense debate and criticism that appeared to leave it dead.
The senators voted 64 to 35 — surpassing the required 60 votes — to consider the legislation, which would give citizenship to most of the estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, crack down on employers who hire them, establish a guest worker program and, proponents say, help secure America's borders. The issue has created factions among Democrats and Republicans, and although President Bush supports the bill, many in the GOP argue that it amounts to amnesty.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) managed to pick up the pieces and craft a package of amendments intended to appeal to both sides. The Senate began debating and voting on the amendments Tuesday.
Senate leaders must still overcome another crucial vote to cut off debate that will require 60 votes. Should that obstacle be removed, even a simple majority needed for passage is far from certain. And whatever emerges from the Senate will have to be reconciled with a House version, which has yet to take up the legislation.
Retailers have concerns about many of the bill's provisions, including mandatory electronic verification of new employees within 18 months and a reverification of the entire company workforce within three years. In addition, the bill would increase the maximum penalty for a pattern of hiring illegal workers to $75,000 per employee from $3,000 and hold employers accountable for verifying the legal status of their contractors' and subcontractors' employees.
Retail groups are pinning their hopes on an amendment, offered by Sens. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Barrack Obama (D., Ill.), that would only require the reverification of employees that the Department of Homeland Security picks out because of discrepancies in documentation. However, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff opposes the amendment, arguing that it would create loopholes and undermine the legislation.
"It's more practical to look at people who you think may be at risk for being illegal or undocumented rather than looking" at the entire workforce, said Liz Oesterle, senior director for the National Retail Federation.Organized labor is deeply divided on the entire approach of the bill, but UNITE HERE, the main apparel and textile union, welcomed the revival in the Senate debate.
"We want this to get voted out of the Senate and be sent to the House," said Tom Snyder, UNITE's national political director. "If it doesn't get out of the Senate, in all likelihood, it [immigration reform] will likely be dead for many years. That will mean more raids [by U.S. officials], more deportations, more deaths at the border, more police-state style action and more exploitation in the workplace."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews