Reid: Immigration bill will 'crack down on crooked employers'

Reid said more than half of day laborers without legal standing say their employers have “cheated” them. He added that the immigration reform bill will greatly reduce these employer abuses and benefit the U.S. economy.

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Reid cited the recent government raid on a dozen 7-Eleven convenience stores that had hired illegal immigrants and forced them to work more than 100 hours a week at below minimum-wage salaries.

“Law enforcement officials who made the arrest and looked at this called it a modern day plantation,” Reid said. “Because they were undocumented they had no way to defend themselves. ... It happens all the time.”

On Monday, the Senate voted 67-27 to end debate on a border security amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. That vote gave the bill a large boost with support from 15 Republicans.

The bipartisan group of eight senators, known as the Gang of Eight, introduced S. 744, which would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest-worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.

Final passage is expected this week because Reid wants work complete on the legislation before the July 4 recess.