Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Time for Sensible Immigration Reform

Yesterday President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to drive an immigration reform bill forward this spring. We echo the urgency in the President’s message.

The AFL-CIO and the entire labor movement remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform and united around the framework for reform that we put forth a year ago. Our framework protects American workers, secures our borders, ensures that employers hire authorized workers and creates a path to citizenship for those who came to our country illegally. It also provides a rational and reasonable approach to future flow, which ties the number of new foreign workers coming into the US labor market to established labor shortages. Under our approach, the numbers—which would be established through an independent commission—would be much higher during robust economic times than they would be in times like today. The advocacy community, including the Reform Immigration for America campaign of which we are a member, has adopted this same approach.

American workers are facing a prolonged jobs crisis and nearly 10% unemployment, with no sign of recovery in sight. If immigration reform is to have any chance of passing this year, the Chamber of Commerce is going to have to abandon its insistence on the creation of a new temporary worker program and embrace a solution based on real employment needs. A new temporary worker program in today’s economy would be political suicide, and the Chamber must know that.

We need immigration reform now. The more we delay, the worse the problem becomes. It’s time to move forward and stop playing politics with a problem we should have fixed a long time ago.

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
on Immigration Reform
March 12, 2010