Major U.S. business and labor groups have reached an agreement on a guest-worker program that removes a major hurdle to a broad immigration overhaul and clears the way for Senate legislation to be introduced soon, a source familiar with the deal said on Saturday.
The agreement was reached on Friday night between the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, and the president of the AFL-CIO labor organization, Richard Trumka, with New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer acting as the mediator, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A guest-worker program has been a major stumbling block to efforts by a bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of Eight to come up with a compromise on a way to create a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
Labor unions have worried that a flood of low-wage immigrant laborers would take away jobs from Americans. The agreement covers the pay levels for low-skilled temporary workers and the types of jobs that would be included.
Schumer briefed White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Saturday on the breakthrough, the source said.
The agreement still must be approved by the Gang of Eight senators. If they do so as expected, Senate legislation on a broad new immigration law would be advanced in the Senate in the coming weeks.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham)