The AFL-CIO extends our deepest sympathy to the Steinle family. They have experienced an unthinkable and senseless tragedy that no family should have to endure.
At the same time, it is a gross distortion to suggest this isolated, terrible act indicates a systemic problem with refusals to embrace local policing of immigration laws. Politicians should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting this moment to demonize all immigrant workers and their families. Moreover, they should not suggest that preventing sound local policies, such as TRUST acts and detainer reforms, is an appropriate solution.
The groundswell of anti-detainer policies passed by hundreds of jurisdictions around the country have made it harder for abusive employers to use the threat of deportation as a weapon to keep workers quiet, and as such help to prevent our broken immigration system from being used as a tool of exploitation.
Effective public safety requires trust between law enforcement and community members. That trust is broken when unjust immigration laws are improperly imposed on immigrant communities. Responding to this tragic act by eroding constitutional protections would lend credence to the corrosive narrative of racist politicians and undermine the type of real reforms we need to address the issues of our overly punitive immigration and criminal justice systems.
AFL-CIO opposes enforcement-only strategies that criminalize immigrant workers and their families and instead will continue to call for comprehensive reform legislation, as well as measures at the local, state and federal level that strengthen due process protections for all workers, regardless of immigration status.