Josh Marshall just posted a transcript of a conference call between journalists and "senior administration officials" about the contours of the immigration policy President Bush plans to propose tomorrow. I'm glad to see a shift back towards the White House's September 10, 2001 position on immigration, and have no doubt that the organizing coalition and voting bloc mobilized most visibly through the Immigrant Worker Freedom Rides has been vital in that achievement. The framing of the problem - the imperative of family reunification, the centrality of undocumented labor to our economy, the humanitarian crisis - is improved, and the approach is certainly more consonant with the Freedom Riders demands than it once was. A "temporary worker" status, however, opens up new avenues for abuse and exploitation, and simply creating a legal process for undocumented workers to go "above ground" and air labor grievances does little to change the facts on the ground about employers' power over immigrant workers. That would require the right to organize, which is conspicuously absent from the discussions of "senior administration officials." Josh Marshall closes by asking whether "the president expects to or even wants this 'policy' to pass." We'll have to see. Meanwhile, the coalition for progressive immigration reform will have to keep fighting for an immigration policy that truly enshrines the best values of this country.

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