Youth Jobs Plan Wins Key Se­nate Vote

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

In a closely-watched key vote on an im­mi­gra­tion bill, the Se­nate voted to ad­vance the mea­sure that in­cludes a youth jobs pro­gram pro­posed by Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.).

San­ders’ amend­ment would set aside $1.5 bil­lion over two years for states and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to help find sum­mer­time and year-round jobs for more than 400,000 16- to 24-year-olds. Each state would get at least $7.5 mil­lion, which would mean about 2,000 jobs for Ver­mont.

“At a time when real un­em­ploy­ment is close to 14 per­cent and even higher among young peo­ple and mi­nori­ties, it is absolutely im­per­a­tive that we cre­ate mil­lions of de­cent­pay­ing jobs in our coun­try,” San­ders said.

San­ders had crit­i­cized a pro­vi­sion in the im­mi­gra­tion bill that lets stu­dents from col­leges in other coun­tries and other guest work­ers take U.S. jobs. It’s the least Congress should do, San­ders said, to also help un­em­ployed young Amer­i­cans find work.

U.S. em­ploy­ers, he added, have taken ad­van­tage of stu­dents from abroad who will work for less pay and whose wages are not sub­ject to So­cial Se­cu­rity, Medi­care and other taxes that busi­nesses would owe on U.S. work­ers. “To­day the J-1 pro­gram has mor­phed into a low-wage jobs pro­gram to al­low cor­po­ra­tions like Her­shey’s and McDon­ald’s and many oth­ers to re­place young Amer­i­can work­ers with cheaper la­bor from abroad,” San­ders said.

San­ders’ youth jobs pro­posal was added to an amend­ment to pro­vide a surge of per­son­nel and tech­nol­ogy along the bor­der be­tween the United States and Mex­ico. While San­ders has said he wants to strengthen bor­der se­cu­rity, he re­mains con­cerned about the se­ri­ous po­ten­tial for waste, fraud and abuse by pri­vate con­trac­tors who will be el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive fund­ing un­der this bill that the Repub­li­cans de­manded.

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