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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka On President Obama’s Immigration Reform Speech

President Barack Obama was elected this fall with several mandates, but voters spoke with particular clarity on one issue: the need to support the aspiration of 11 million immigrants to become citizens. That’s why we applaud President Obama’s eloquent and thoughtful embrace of immigration reform, including a viable path to citizenship for those who are American in every way except on paper.

In a phrase, President Obama “gets it” – he gets that a rising tide lifts all boats and that empowering immigrant workers is a win for all working people. The President clearly shares the AFL-CIO’s commitment to a viable pathway to citizenship, meaning that seemingly innocuous conditions cannot be allowed to get in the way of a roadmap for citizenship that encompasses the dreams of 11 million people.

President Obama’s leadership, and the bipartisan Senate group which announced its reform principles yesterday, makes us hopeful that 2013 will be the year in which the United States finally builds a working immigration system.

But hope is not a plan. That’s why America’s unions are undertaking a national campaign to ensure that Congress passes a genuinely comprehensive plan in 2013.

We look forward to the fight ahead. Our top priority – citizenship – is clear. Our opponents are just as readily identified: those who deride the fundamental equality of our fellow working women and men. With those clear values to guide us, we stand with President Obama and leaders of goodwill across the political spectrum to do right by the 11 million and make our country stronger.

Contact: Jeff Hauser (202) 637-5018

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