The joint proposal would also create a federal bureau to crunch labor numbers and determine needs in the U.S. workforce. That data would then be presented to Congress, which it could use when considering immigration flows. Avendaño said that the two sides have not hashed out exactly what role the bureau would play in determining future immigration flows.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce did not respond to a request for comment.
Of course, all of this needs the approval of Congress. But Avendaño was hopeful that a bipartisan group working on reform in the Senate -- dubbed the "gang of eight" -- would adopt the principles released on Thursday. "If business and labor have agreed to an approach," she said, "it really wouldn't make sense for the gang of eight to then go in a completely different direction."
The agreement between business and union interests is important because it could play a major role in preventing illegal immigration in the future by providing legal pathways for immigrant workers to come to the U.S. Regulating the flow of immigrant workers going forward is one of the biggest questions left unresolved from the Senate immigration reform blueprint, and a White House reform plan leaked over the weekend didn't get into those details, either. While this agreement doesn't resolve those issues, it presents a basic framework for Congress to get started.