Youth Jobs Act is Bernie Sanders' $1.5 Billion Immigration Silver Lining

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' Youth Jobs Act, included in the Senate's now-passed immigration bill, would provide $1.5 billion to state and local governments over the next two years to help find jobs for 400,000 Americans between the ages of 16 and 24.  

In a statement announcing the accomplishment Sanders said:

“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 decent-paying jobs in our country.”

Sanders hopes his bill will help balance out the negative effect the J-1 and H-2B visas have on younger Americans.  These programs have been used to fill jobs usually taken by younger Americans at a depressed wage.  According to Sanders,

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.

The bill would designate at least $7.5 million of the $1.5 billion for each state to create a summer jobs program.  States with higher unemployment rates would receive more. To pay for the bill a temporary $10 fee will be assessed to companies who hire guest workers and international workers receiving green cards.

Interestingly, the amendment was added after a week of fiery floor speeches from Sanders who actually opposes the immigration bill.  Adding the Youth Jobs Act was his way of lining the bill with silver.

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Chaz Bolte
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