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Deborah Cannada, Librarian - West Side Elementary School, Charleston, WV.

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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Bipartisan Senate Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

A bipartisan Senate group beginning the process to address our failed immigration system is an important and long overdue first step toward addressing our country’s broken immigration system. We are especially encouraged to see that at long last there is bipartisan agreement on our top priority, that immigration reform must include a viable path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants who call America home.

Much remains to be seen on the details of that path, and each detail can have significant consequences for millions of aspiring citizens. For instance, we are concerned that making the citizenship path contingent on proof of employment at the time enforcement measures are deemed completed could be problematic. Depending on implementation, the principles could potentially exclude millions of workers—those who care for our children and our elderly, mow our lawns and repair our homes, drive taxis--who cannot prove employment because they have been forced to work off the clock or have no employer by virtue of being independent contractors.  It would also exclude immigrants who are employers themselves. We hope that this sort of acknowledgement of economic reality informs the actual bill drafting process.  

That is why we look forward to working with Members of Congress and the President to ensure that all men and women here, regardless of their skin color or where they were born, can participate meaningfully in the United States of America with full rights and equal protections. America’s unions are undertaking a national campaign to support the aspiration of 11 million immigrants to become citizens because we understand that a more equal America is a stronger America.

Contact:  Jeff Hauser (202) 637-5018

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